Stopping the sprees: Bahrain's government reigns in spending to improve efficiency
The National Assembly, Bahrain. (Buratha News)
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A report that includes a series of short and medium-term measures to reduce government expenditures in Bahrain by 30 per cent and improve efficiency across entities has been hailed by Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Prince Salman, also Bahrain’s First Deputy Prime Minister, said that the recommendations included in the report would improve and modernise administrative procedures across the government.
The recommendations are in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s economic and fiscal reform programme, Prince Salman said as he chaired a meeting of the Government Executive Committee, during which the final report of the six government task forces, responsible for reducing government expenditure, was reviewed.
The report is part of Bahrain’s recently announced programme of economic and fiscal reform.
The kingdom has moved forward with implementing a comprehensive programme of structural economic and fiscal reforms to strengthen its long-term development.
The programme is underpinned by three pillars — streamlining government expenditure, redistributing government subsidies, and a series of economic reforms and infrastructure projects worth more than $32 billion (Dh117 billion) to increase investment and growth.
The programme has already resulted in the consolidation of several government ministries and the merging of ten government entities.
Sustainable fiscal position
The Crown Prince said that the target to reduce expenditure by 30 per cent demonstrates the government’s commitment to a sustainable fiscal position, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
Over the past two months the government task forces have conducted spending review meetings and site visits to assess government efficiency, and the Government Executive Committee on Tuesday accepted their recommendations and directed on their implementation within specific time frames.
King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa earlier this year called for enhancing efficiency and effectiveness across government, without adversely affecting citizens’ standard of living.
The Government Executive Committee, chaired by Crown Prince Salman, on October 1 announced the establishment of six Government Task Forces to review and identify areas where recurrent government expenditure could be reduced.
They included a task force responsible for the reduction of costs related to the maintenance of government buildings, led by the Minister of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, a task force responsible for the reduction of travel expenses and transportation costs, led by the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications and a task force responsible for the reduction of property rental costs, led by the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.
They also included a task force responsible for the reduction of costs related to advertisements, publications, subscriptions and stationery, led by the Minister of Information and Parliament Affairs, a task force responsible for auditing and reducing IT-related expenditure, led by the Chief Executive Officer of the e-Government Authority and a task force responsible for efficient utilisation of medications and medical equipment, led by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health.
Last week, and within the two-month time frame stipulated by Prince Salman, the six task forces submitted their recommendations and their implementation measures to the Ministerial Committee for Financial Affairs and Rationalising Expenditure.
The report and recommendations were afterwards referred to the Executive Committee.
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