The executive and legislative branches have expressed pride in the wide-ranging achievements of their joint cooperation, which contributed to achieving the goals of the comprehensive development process, led by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and supported by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
The two sides made the stances during a joint meeting devoted to reviewing the outcomes of the preliminary semi-annual closure of ministries and government agencies for the period ending on 30 June 2023.
The meeting was chaired by Ahmed bin Salman Al-Musallam, Council of Representatives Speaker and Ali bin Saleh Al-Saleh, Shura Council Chairman, representing the legislative branch, and Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance and National Economy, representing the government.
The executive branch's representatives affirmed the government's commitment to achieving the goals of the Fiscal Balance Programme according the preset schedule to consolidate the kingdom's financial stability and economic development, as well as generate more qualitative job opportunities for the citizens.
They pointed out that the results of initial semi-annual closure proved the commitment of ministries and government agencies to the funds allocated for them in the state budget 2023-2024, despite the global challenges, including the decline in oil prices, which contributed to reducing public revenues.
The team expressed hope that the state’s public revenues will increase during the second half of this year, with the expected oil prices rise, and within the framework of programmes to diversify sources of income.
The report on the results of the preliminary semi-annual closure of ministries and government agencies for the period ending on 30 June 2023 revealed that the total revenues had reached BD 1,441 million, marking a decrease of 2% compared to the budget projections. It also showed that the total expenditures had reached BD1.823, leading to a deficit of BD381 million.
The executive and legislature representatives reviewed the agreements on which the general state budget had been approved. They include mainly:
- Adherence to the goals of the Fiscal Balance programme by continuing to reduce expenditures and increase revenues to reach the balance point.
- Determining the priority for implementing the required projects related to infrastructure and services, including roads, municipal projects and sanitation.
- Launching initiatives to rise the citizens' salaries in the private sector and enhance their employment preference.
- Raising work fees for non-Bahraini employees to make the citizens the best choice for employment.
- Expanding professional development programmes for Bahraini employees.
- Supporting the employment of citizens by enacting the necessary legislation to deduct an amount from the surpluses of the Insurance against Unemployment Fund for the benefit of the Labour Fund (Tamkeen).
- Increasing the monthly living improvement allowance for retirees from BD125 to BD 165 dinars for those whose pensions are less than BD1500, and from BD150 to BD190 for those whose pensions are less than BD700, so that 92% of retirees will benefit from it.
- Increasing the monthly living improvement allowance for public sector employees from BD60 to BD100 and from BD50 to BD85, so that 94% of public sector employees will benefit from it.
- Doubling the monthly support for people with severe disabilities to reach BD200.
- Raising the public debt ceiling by one billion Bahraini Dinars to cover financing needs during the implementation period of the general budget for the years 2023-2024.
On the other hand, the representatives of the branches underlined the importance of carrying on their joint efforts to raise the efficiency of government subsidies to ensure that they reach eligible citizens.
They also vowed to continue supporting the citizens in their first house regarding electricity and water services, and maintaining that when restructuring the tariff for sanitation services in accordance with the agreements reached during the drafting of the state budget.
Commenting, Speaker Al-Musallam affirmed that the meeting aims to strengthen the ongoing constructive legislature-executive cooperation to serve the nation and the citizens, based on the directives of HM the King and support of HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
He also commended the government's initiative to present the initial results of the semi-annual closure of ministries and government agencies for the period ending on 30 June 2023.
Shura Council Chairman praised the announced outcomes, noting that they reflect the keenness of ministries and government agencies to implement government programmes and projects according to the preset executive plans, enhance economic growth, reduce budget deficit and continue implementing initiatives aimed at achieving the goals of the Fiscal Balance Programme and the Economic Recovery Plan.
He also commended HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister's effective efforts to improve the performance of government entities so as to achieve HM the King's visions and aspirations in this regard.
Finance and National Economy asserted that the kingdom is making steadfast strides towards achieving its development goals, thanks to the determination of its loyal citizens and cooperation between the executive and legislative branches.
He indicated that the two branches are keen to continue implementing plans and initiatives aimed at achieving financial sustainability, including the Fiscal Balance Programme initiatives and the economic recovery plans.
Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa affirmed the government's keenness to continue its coordination and cooperation with the legislative brand to achieve the interest of the kingdom and its people.