Dr Khalifa Al Dhahrani
Bahrain parliament panel approves budget
Manama, June 18, 2013
Bahrain's delayed national budget received the green light from parliament's financial and economic affairs committee yesterday (June 17), a report said.
The majority of the eight-member committee, chaired by MP Latifa Al Gaoud, recommended parliament approve the budget after revising new numbers presented by the Shura Council, which passed it last Thursday, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
On May 16, MPs rejected the budget for this year and next year after lengthy negotiations, despite the government making several concessions.
"The decision on when to have the budget listed is now with the general-secretariat, headed by parliament chairman Dr Khalifa Al Dhahrani, who will make a decision on whether to discuss it during a regular Tuesday session or hold an extraordinary session," said Al Gaoud.
"We have completed revising numbers as submitted to us by the Shura Council and have given the budget the go ahead and yes recommendations.
"Further delays to the budget are unnecessary after the government decided to make amends to demands earlier presented by us."
In the new budget, around 52,000 breadwinners with an income less than BD1,000 ($2,638) will be eligible to receive a monthly anti-inflation allowance.
It means that 48,000 people earning less than BD300 will receive BD100, around 48,000 people being paid BD301 to BD700 will get BD70 and 10,000 people being paid between BD701 and BD1,000 will receive BD50.
The changes will replace the existing BD50 payout to anyone earning less than BD700, which was introduced in 2007.
It has also agreed to increase pensions of Bahrainis working in the public and private sector, which will cost around BD158 million this year and next year.
However, the government is refusing to fund a 15 per cent pay rise for 45,000 civil servants, which was a key reason for MPs rejecting the budget.
Dr Al Dhahrani earlier told the GDN the budget will be scheduled for discussions next Tuesday with an expected vote of approval. – TradeArabia News Service