Civil servants may get 20pc pay increase
Manama, December 4, 2013
Civil servants in Bahrain could get a 20 per cent pay rise after MPs unanimously approved a new bill yesterday (December 3).
The proposed legislation was passed despite objections from Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, who said the bill would increase the BD5 billion ($13.2) budget deficit to BD7 billion as other proposed parliamentary spending is taken into consideration, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"Anything that improves people's living standards is of importance to us in the government. We don't disagree with MPs on the goals, but on the mechanism," Shaikh Ahmed told MPs.
"If we carry out the proposed increase to wages, then the deficit will increase from the current BD5 billion, which we are working to reduce.
"Improving the economy is our target now and people will benefit from it, but giving money like that is wrong and has to be stopped."
However, Shaikh Ahmed was forced to stop his speech midway as he was urgently summoned by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier.
He left the session and was replaced by Minister of State for Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel.
"To fulfil parliament's demand, we will have to take loans. GCC countries that have increased wages have a surplus, we don't," added Al Fadhel.
Parliament's services committee vice-chairman Adel Al Asoomi said the public's money was being squandered on unimportant matters. "Giving money to people will benefit the economy and any planned policy to improve the economy will be invalid without the public's input," he said.
He was supported by parliament second vice-chairman Shaikh Adel Al Ma'awada, who said improving living standards would ensure security and stability in the country. Meanwhile, GCC security personnel working in forces in other member states will be covered by social insurance, under a government-proposed bill approved by the parliament and referred for revision to the Shura Council. - TradeArabia News Service