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House to discuss SSC asset management, investments today

By JT - Apr 16,2018 - Last updated at Apr 16,2018

The Lower House is scheduled to hold a general session on Tuesday to discuss the work mechanism of the Social Security Corporation’s Investment Fund (Photo by Al Rai Newspaper)

AMMAN — Upon the request of around 80 MPs, the Lower House is scheduled to hold a general session on Tuesday to discuss the work mechanism of the Social Security Corporation’s (SSC) investment fund.

Lawmakers will also discuss an amended version of the 2014 SSC Law proposed by MP Abdul Karim Doughmi.

Doughmi, a lawyer and former justice minister, has recently said that the proposed amendment to the law seeks to protect the assets of the SSC, adding that the amendments he suggested to the law would oblige the SSC Investment Fund (SSIF) to obtain the approval of the corporation’s board of directors for any investment it endorses.

During a session last week, several MPs cited what they described as the “loose” management of the SSC’s assets by its investment fund, formerly the investment unit. 

MP Khalil Atiyyeh warned against “touching the SSC’s money”, saying that the “corporation is as ‘sacred’ and ‘untouchable’ as the army”,  while his colleague Fawaz Zoubi charged that he had submitted a memo to the House stating SSIF’s losses. 

The government on March 3 sent a question to the Judicial Council’s Law Interpretation Bureau, requesting an explanation of Article 8 and 14 of the SSC Law governing the work of the SSIF and its duties.  

According to Paragraph C of Article 8 of the law, a fund is established for the purpose of investing the corporation’s assets that enjoys administrative and financial independence. “The management and work mechanism of the said fund, as well as allocated funds, and methods of managing and investing shall be stipulated in special law issued for this purpose.” 

Paragraph B of Article 14 lists ten functions for the SSIF, including developing general investment policy and plan, making necessary investment decisions and submitting periodic reports to the SSC board on its activities and performance. 

On March 21, the bureau convened and ruled that the SSIF, while carrying out its investment activities, is “supposed” to rely on the SSC’s general plan endorsed by the board and, while working according to the general guidelines that the board approves, it then can enjoy “full jurisdiction” over the management and investment of its allocations without obtaining the approval of any other sides within the corporation’s organisational structure.

In its verdict, a copy of which was made available to The Jordan Times, the bureau said that the SSC board shall have the right to monitor the SSIF in case the latter’s investment decisions deviate from the corporation’s general investment policies.   

Labour Minister Samir Murad, who is also the chairman of the SSC’s board of directors, has been reiterating recently that there is no change to the decision-making mechanism related to SSIF, whose total assets reached around JD9.274 billion at the end of last year, compared with around JD8.3 billion in 2016, with an increase of JD984.1 million, representing 11.4 per cent, according to the SSIF’s annual report.

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