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Budget talks bid by Shura
SHURA Council members are to mediate to solve the budget dispute between the government and parliament. MPs rejected the budget on Thursday, saying it did too little for the people.

They said too much was being spent on the military and other expenditure, instead of housing and other social needs.

The budget report was submitted by council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh to the financial and economic affairs committee, which will meet today to start its first revision sessions.

"We hope to finish revising the budget in less than a month and at the same time we will work hard to reach something that the government and parliament agree to," said committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati.

"Both are right in some matters, but wrong in others. I am confident that we will reach an understanding that will ensure that whenever the budget is referred back to parliament it would approve it."

The government has rejected several parliamentary proposals, with the last being an additional BD45 million for this year and BD40m for the next. It instead proposed BD30m for this year and BD60m for next year, with the money being given to couples with a gross income of BD600 or less. The MPs rejected it.

"I agree that the anti-inflation allowance is necessary, but the criteria have to be changed to ensure that the needy get it and not those with salaries up to BD1,500, like last year," said Mr. Al Maskati.

He said that the council had unofficially revised the budget months ago, even before it was officially referred to them.

"All aspects will be studied carefully and we may ask for cuts or additions, but they will be based on how ministries and government organisations present their case," said Mr. Al Maskati.

"I hope that the flow of information would be quick, considering that the budget needs to be approved quickly because of stalled projects."

The fate of the budget could be decided by the 80-member National Assembly, if no agreement is reached by both chambers.

Page last updated on: 05/02/2018 01:21 PM