His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister called for handling of economic challenges swiftly and in result-oriented way with a sole aim of meeting the needs, aspirations and expectations of the people of Bahrain.
Referring to the Government’s programme of action for the next four years he said it reflects the requirements of the important stage of the economic development being witnessed by the Kingdom of Bahrain.
In his review of the Government’s programme of action before the National Assembly on the commencement of its third legislative chapter, His Royal Highness said, ” Based on the gracious royal trust that is the object of our pride, commissioning us to form the cabinet, we look forward to pursuing our cooperation over this important stage in order to take up our joint responsibilities.
His Royal Highness congratulated the members of both the Shura (Consultative) Council and House of Representatives on the values trust bestowed upon them by His Majesty King Hamad Bin Essa Al-Khalifa and the people of Bahrain to pursue the process of building and enhancing the democratic approach and bonds of national unity so as to sustain security, prosperity and stability for the homeland.
” Today, the Kingdom of Bahrain, with the Grace of Allah, enjoys a constitutional, democratic regime, where the visions and aspirations of the leaderships are in harmony with the hopes and wishes of the people to firmly establish the build-up of a homeland, where the principles of justice, equality and rule of law prevail.
We will work together, with sustenance from Allah, to realize the aspirations and expectations of both the leadership and the people, “HRH added.
His Royal Highness pointed out that the past years provided wide spaces for efforts and action in various sectors to promote the standing of Bahrain and provide decent living for citizens.
HRH stressed that in spite of the major challenges arising from the global financial and economic crisis and thanks to help from Allah and then to support and judicious directives from His Majesty the King and the constructive cooperation between the executive and legislative authorities, the Government has managed to maintain a robust economy and achieve positive growth rates.
His Royal Highness paid tribute to the role of HRH Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince for his leadership the Economic Development Board and his keenness on reinforcing national economy in light of well-guided vision and an efficient and resilient system.
His Royal Highness indicated that the Government’s most significant achievements included improving citizens’ standard of living; increasing job opportunities and reducing unemployment; enhancing education; upgrading heath and housing services; expanding productive and industrial base and developing infrastructure.
These also included implementing a host of projects in the field of energy, saline water desalination and sanitation; in addition to leading achievements in enabling investment environment, enhancing financial and banking sector, promoting national economy and realizing higher growth rates.
His Royal Highness underlined the Government’s interest, over the past four years, in boosting and reinforcing services, particularly in the field of housing, where BD491 million were allocated and major achievements were made in this sector, including housing units, allocated building plots and housing loans.
His Royal Highness pointed out that the Government has reinforced the achievements already made in this field by appropriating BD480 million for the coming years.
He added that, in light of the attention given to housing services and projects; keenness on alleviating housing burdens and in accordance with the housing allowance scheme, the Government has appropriated BD 156 million to beef up this sector.
His Royal Highness indicated that the Government has been attending to health services by building and operating several new primary health care centres and building the King Hamad University Hospital that will be operational soon.
With regard to education, His Royal Highness affirmed that the Government has paid special attention to the enhancement of education by creating the Supreme Committee on the Enhancement of Education and the Quality Assurance Authority.
The rate of enrollment in primary education has shown 100 percent, thus bringing the Kingdom of Bahrain to Number 1 position on the Arab level in this respect.
His Royal Highness re-emphasized that the Government wishes to achieve the highest levels of cooperation and participation among the three authorities, in accordance with constitutional principles and looks forward to a joint collective effort by constitutional institutions and civil society organizations towards the achievement of the common goals of building a homeland, where prosperity, construction, accord and safety prevail.
His Royal Highness stressed that the Government is keen to see the judiciary exercise its functions with full efficiency, integrity, independence and impartiality. His Royal Highness underscored the great importance of the media.
The Government has attended to the Government’s media discourse; to the enhancement of information media, the reinforcement of freedom of expression within the framework of compliance with the law, while providing information media with necessary resources to perform their patriotic mission.
With regard to fiscal and economic policy, His Royal Highness pointed out that the Government’s programme of action focuses on diversifying the productive sector base of the national economy; raising productivity; encouraging and boosting creativity; fostering exports and attracting investments, where HRH expects higher growth over the coming years.
His Royal Highness also said that the 2011-2014 state general budget is based on a number of principles ensuring that fiscal policy is closely linked with national economic strategy priorities and governed by a number of socio-economic orientations, given that the overall goal of the state’s fiscal and economic policy is to achieve economic development.
“The fruits of development must be distributed according to social justice criteria,” stressed HRH.
His Royal Highness further pointed out that the linkage between fiscal policy and economic strategy will be contingent on the application of a set of fiscal and economic measures, including to adopt strategic financing principle; raise public sector productivity, through reducing or re-channeling government machinery expenditure and adopting spending rationalization principle, including to review and re-channel recurrent expenses towards providing needs for implementing new and existing projects, controlling public debt and diversifying self-financing sources.
As regards the main themes of the budget, His Royal Highness pointed out that they include reinforcing Bahrain’s economic vision; maintaining constituents of economic stability; raising productivity and performance efficiency; boosting private sector’ role in the economy; developing the social welfare umbrella; supporting programmes and projects geared to improve citizens income.
Additionally, these include providing adequate housing for citizens; enhancing education and training and encouraging scientific research, supporting health service development projects and entrenching Bahrain’s position as an all-service centre.
His Royal Highness stated that as part of our effort to maintain growth rates, the Government will work, through its programmes, towards further diversification of sources of income by pursuing the policy of encouraging the private sector to offer more initiatives to energize national economy; to make available more job opportunities to citizens, apart from upgrading the oil and industrial sectors.
His Royal Highness underscored the fact that the Government’s programme of action emphasized the priority of sustained action to upgrade the financial and banking sector and reinforce Bahrain’s standing in this field.
His Royal Highness further expounded that the Government’s programme of action has maintained continued interest in entrenching Bahrain’s paragon of excellence as a culture and value system in various public and private sectors; reinforcing Bahrain’s centre of excellence; helping raise the efficiency of government machinery and staff, by giving attention to training through programmes of the Public Administration Institute and Civil Service Bureau as well as by reinforcing and supporting the government’s electronic uses.
His Royal Highness stressed that the Government will continue to boost the Kingdom of Bahrain’s foreign policy and relations with its sisterly states in the Gulf Cooperation Council on the Arab, Islamic and international levels and to enhance its regional and international standing and role.
In conclusion, His Royal Highness expressed his confidence that all will join forces and cooperate in achieving the goals of the Government’s programme, in the interest of elevating the status of the homeland under the judicious leadership of His Majesty the King.