Bahrain to privatize government agencies
Bahrain is to begin privatizing governmental services under the guidance of a specially created supervisory body, according to a GNA report. The news agency said that the Shura—the Bahraini consultative council—backed on Tuesday, March 27, a proposal to set up a supreme privatization council, which is to be chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa.
The privatization council‘s members will include the finance and national economy minister, commerce minister, oil and industry minister and labor and social affairs minister, in addition to five “qualified members from the private sector, with knowledge and expertise in the financial and economic field,” according to the draft bill.
The Shura Chairman Ibrahim Humaidan stated after the council discussed a report by the legal affairs committee on a privatization draft law. The draft affirms that privatization is part of the country's economic policy for the sake of achieving constant development, and to upgrade the ratio of development, and distribute development revenues on a greater section of the society, the GNA reported.
The Shura, which acts as a parliament, pending establishment of an elected legislature in 2003, reviewed 25 clauses in a privatization master plan, which will now go back to the cabinet for final approval.
A variety of safeguards have been built into the draft. “For instance, no Shura member or council employee, or any member of their families, will be allowed to own or run companies which take over Government services,” reported the Gulf Daily News.
Government employees whose departments are privatized will be secure in their jobs for a period of at least three years, with the same benefits. Consumer rights will also be protected, with strict standards on prices and quality of services, the lawmakers agreed.
Bahrainis Okayed constitutional changes in a referendum mid-February that won 97.4 percent of the votes. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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