Sunday 21 October 2018

Bahraini ministers urged to cut spending

MANAMA, July 14, 2015

Government ministers in Bahrain have been ordered to outline unnecessary administrative expenses, as part of plans to reduce public spending.

The move, directed by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, follows the National Assembly’s approval of Bahrain’s new-look national budget for this year and the next, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The revised budget will increase the projected deficit by a total of BD28 million ($74.2 million) over the two-year period.

The Cabinet yesterday (July 13) submitted the national budget for ratification and immediate implementation.

“The Cabinet has already introduced guidelines for good financial practices, but believes ministers’ interpretation of what are good administrative practices is necessary,” said Information Affairs Minister Isa Al Hammadi.

“We have to restrict spending and we have a tight budget to deal with. It will be left to ministers to outline their unnecessary spending, but it has to be reduced, if not stopped.

“The spending we want to slash does not affect citizens directly, it is all related to desk and office work, besides secretarial and support staff.

“Oil prices are not stable and we don’t want to continue spending improperly, not knowing what is stored for us in future. There are decisions in line with the outlines that will be taken in time to ensure spending is kept in reasonable rates that everyone is happy with.”  

 Al Hammadi, who is also the government’s official spokesman, was speaking at a Press briefing yesterday following the Cabinet’s weekly session at the Gudaibiya Palace.

The Cabinet already approved plans, by the Shura Council and parliament, to have ministers flown on business, while having accompanying staffs on economy, rather than have all on first class.

The National Assembly’s opposition to the government’s plans to slash subsidies, as well as disagreements over the distribution of funds, were key reasons for the budget being delayed for six months. A massive drop in the oil price – which has halved since last summer – also meant the original draft was late in being presented to the National Assembly.

However, the GDN reported last week that the government was pushing ahead with plans to axe meat subsidies from August 1. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | government | ministers | Spending | cut |

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