Bahrain MPs veto national budget
Manama, May 17, 2013
Bahrain's MPs have vetoed the national budget in a vote that could see up to 350,000 Bahrainis miss out on increased financial benefits, a report said.
The MPs refused to approve the budget for this year and the next, which is already six months overdue, during a fiery extraordinary session of parliament yesterday, the report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper said.
They also invoked a clause that means concessions from the government – such as pension rises and social welfare increases – were also thrown out.
The concessions were made after months of negotiations, but MPs’ decision means the original draft of the budget, which is several months old, will now be referred to the Shura Council without any amendments.
Of the 37 MPs present, 21 rejected the budget, 11 voted in favour and five abstained, the report said.
A senior MP described parliament’s decision as a “disaster” and “dangerous”, but many of his colleagues criticised government’s spending policies and claimed millions of dinars were being wasted.
Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa said the government is keen to ensure interests of citizens and is not against increasing salaries. “We are trying to direct spending in a way that serves people, according to available revenues,” he said.
“The matter is related to our economy’s ability to provide the required funds, and it is wrong to increase expenses without enough revenues to cover them,” he said in parliament.
He said the general state budget for 2013-2014 includes implementation of mega projects and services in the housing and electricity sectors to benefit citizens. - TradeArabia News Service