Bahrain’s budget talks put off
Manama, April 24, 2013
Discussions about Bahrain's national budget have been postponed for a week to prevent it from being blocked by the members of the parliament, a report said.
Parliament's financial and economic affairs committee chairwoman Latifa Al Gaoud took the decision to withdraw it from discussions in the hope a consensus can be reached, according to the report published in our ssiter paper the Gulf Daily News.
She strongly rejected claims from first vice-chairman Abdulla Al Dossary that she was trying to force through the budget, despite opposition from MPs.
Al Asala (Salafist) Bloc president MP Abdulhaleem Murad also jumped to her defence, praising her "huge efforts" to resolve the outstanding issues.
The budget should have started being implemented at the start of the year, but discussions have dragged on since last October amid a dispute with parliament about spending levels.
MPs were earlier urged not to block it amid fears the government could overrule them and seek urgent approval from His Majesty King Hamad.
The revised budget allows private sector employees to "buy" five years of service towards their pension and use it to take loans.
Pensions would also be increased to benefit 44,000 people in the public and private sectors.
The anti-inflation allowance would also continue under new criteria.
The new budget would see recurrent expenditure at BD7.97 billion ($21.02 billion) for this year and BD6.08 billion next year.
Contingency plans have been already drawn up by the Shura Council in case MPs fail to approve the budget. – TradeArabia News Service