‘No new projects in the pipeline for Manama’
Manama, January 4, 2013
Bahrain's capital will not see any major developments for the next two years, said councilors, adding that the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry's latest budget plan does not contain any new projects.
They alleged a list of developments presented to them during a meeting were similar to those earmarked for 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 and have yet to be implemented despite funds already being allocated, according to a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
Ministry officials reportedly also told councillors that the $10 billion GCC Marshall Plan cannot be used to purchase land or carry out beautification projects.
Manama Municipal Council chairman Majeed Millad Al Jazeeri questioned why there were no new projects given the fact that Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi recently told parliament it had spent only 53 per cent of its budget.
"Municipal coffers are not retaken by the Finance Ministry if not used and this means that the ministry has the same budget given thrice with the same projects being listed repeatedly since 2009," he said.
"We still don't know what's the budget allocated for projects, existing contracts and new contracts and anything about owed money and from the last official comment by the minister we heard that 47 per cent of the project's budget is unused."
Council services and public utilities committee chairman Fadhel Al Qaidoom said several projects had to be scrapped as they had dragged on so long without being implemented.
Councillor Ghazi Al Dossary said some examples included public car parks and two public gardens continually included in ministry budgets without being implemented.
"I don't think it takes 10 years to carry out those projects, which were approved in 2002," he said.
Al Jazeeri later admitted the issue of buying land had delayed many developments already in the pipeline and said councillors were keen to tackle the issue.
He chaired a meeting to discuss ministry's project budget for Manama in 2013-2014 attended by the ministry's Manama Municipality properties and parks director Zuhair Al Dallal and follow-up and co-ordination chief Abdulmotalib Al Salem.
Ministry officials were unavailable for comment, but Dr Al Ka'abi stated the ministry had not spent any money on new projects last year because of a funding shortfall linked to it being owed BD30 million ($79 million) from the Electricity and Water Authority in late municipal payments. – TradeArabia News Service
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