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Cabinet: Premier welcomes budget bill approval
08 : 06 PM - 17/07/2017
Manama, July 17 (BNA): His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has welcomed the approval of the draft-law on the State Budget for the two fiscal years 2017 and 2018 by the Legislative Branch.
The approval was the fruitful outcome of the strong Executive-Legislature cooperation which contributed to achieving a balance between expenditure rationalisation and the necessary fiscal discipline to face the current developments, preserve the citizens’ rights and consolidate assistance delivered to middle and low income citizens and the neediest social segments.
Chairing the regular weekly Cabinet Session at Gudaibiya Palace today, HRH the Prime Minister issued directives to all ministries and state departments to tighten control on public money and rationalise government expenditure through ordering them according to priority, eliminating bad and harmful spending habits, preventing the squandering of public funds and ensuring optimum use of resources.

He also gave instructions to step up the supervisory and control procedures to create a better work environment and accelerate the implementation of the government projects featuring in the budget and complete them according to schedule.

A post-session statement by the Cabinet Secretary-General, Dr. Yasser bin Isa Al-Nasser, said that HRH the Prime Minister directed to put forward the necessary executive plans and programmes to activate the projects and priorities set in the budget.

The Prime Minister also stressed the need to implement the state budget with efficiency and according to high-quality standards so that it reflects positively on the citizens’ daily lives, improve comprehensive health, housing, educational and social services, give top priority to the social dimension and maintain the comprehensive social care umbrella.

HRH Premier also urged ministries and government departments to support the pivotal role of the private sector as an essential partner in the economic performance of the overall development process, lauding, in this context, the Gulf Development Programme for its role in supporting and completing the programmes included in the state budget, as well as in spurring the national economy.

The Cabinet condemned the banning of prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli Occupation Forces, describing the closure as a provocative act, a dangerous escalation and a clear violation of the sanctity of the holy sites, as well as a breach of international laws guaranteeing the freedom of worship and exercise of religious rituals.

The terrorist attack that targeted an on-duty security patrol in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, was also strongly condemned by the session, which lauded the tremendous anti-terror efforts and vigilance of the Saudi security authorities and backed all the measures by Saudi Arabia to ensure its security and stability.

The Cabinet denounced the terrorist attack that targeted a security patrol in Giza, Egypt, and reiterated Bahrain’s full-fledged support to Egypt, solidarity with it and backing of all measures it deems necessary to maintain its security and stability.

Commenting on the citizens’ remarks and complaints, HRH Premier instructed the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry and the Housing Ministry to verify the adequacy of the services and facilities in Janusan and meet its needs, especially concerning roads, sanitation and housing.

The Prime Minister also gave directives to begin work on development projects in Muharraq, including the “Sa’ada” (happiness) and university projects, and requested the competent authorities to follow up on them.

HRH Premier then stressed the importance of archiving and documenting in ministries and government departments to record the citizen-oriented government achievements, urging to set up a register to document the role of Bahrainis who worked at those establishments and had their marks in the services provided by those ministries and departments.

The Prime Minister also gave directives to start recruiting 230 Bahraini nurses within the employment plan for the two fiscal years 2017-2018. They will be added to the 430 Bahraini nurses recruited during the two previous budget cycles.

HRH Premier devoted part of the session to reviewing the kingdom’s achievement and efforts to provide decent housing for the citizens, being among the priorities set by the kingdom to ensure decent living for all.

The session reviewed the major developments of the housing file between 1960 and 2017.

A report presented by the Housing Minister revealed that the government has delivered about 129,000 housing services, including the distribution of 47,000 housing units that benefited 270,000 citizens, the granting of about 65,000 purchasing, construction and renovation loans and the distribution of 12,000 land lots.

The same period also witnessed the building of seven new cities, including three under construction ones, in addition to the issuance of the Royal Order to build 40,000 housing units and the government’s commitment to building 25,000 units within its action plan, the report said.

The Cabinet endorsed a plan to merge the General Directorate of Urban Planning at the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning and the Planning and Urban Development Authority under the name of “Planning and Urban Development Authority”.
Reporting to the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister, the authority will be headed by a chief executive officer with the rank of undersecretary and a deputy CEO with the rank of assistant undersecretary.
It will comprise five directorates, including Studies and Strategic Planning, Human and Financial Resources, Detailed Planning, Land Development and Projects and Investment.

The session requested the competent authorities to take the necessary legal procedures to implement the plan aimed at achieving complementarity in the urban planning process as recommended in the memorandum presented by the Civil Service Bureau (CSB).

The Cabinet approved the by-laws of the Standards and Metrology Law and the draft law on its issuance.
The by-laws regulate the issuance and renewal of conformity assessment certificates and badges, as well as quality and conformity certificates of various products.
They also prepare, revise, amend and publish the approved Bahraini Technical Regulations and conformity assessments after they are approved by a special committee chaired by the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, and comprising representatives of relevant government and non-government entities, members from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and two specialists.

The session requested the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs to take the necessary procedures to ratify the agreement signed between Bahrain and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concerning its privileges and immunities in The Hague on June 6, as shown in the memorandum presented by the Foreign Affairs Minister.

The Cabinet also discussed a number of proposals submitted by the Council of Representatives, including suggestions related to gold stamping fees and land acquisition, and approved the draft government replies as recommended by the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs.

Regarding ministerial reports, HRH the Prime Minister lauded the speech delivered by the Information Affairs Minister during the meeting of the Arab Information Ministers’ Council.
The session was briefed on the outcomes of the Arab Information Ministers’ Council’s meeting.

The Cabinet took note of the results of the Interior Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, as well as his official visit to the United States of America.

The session was also informed about the outcomes of the visit of the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister to Russia to participate in the 8th INNOPROM International Industrial Trade Fair.


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