Bahrain MPs outraged over planned subsidy cuts

Lawmakers will reportedly block this year’s budget if the gov't pushes through plans to drastically cut national subsidies
Bahrain MPs outraged over planned subsidy cuts
(Getty Images)
By Sarah Townsend
Wed 27 May 2015 04:24 PM

MPs in Bahrain will block this year’s budget if the government pushes through plans to drastically cut national subsidies, it was reported on Wednesday.

In a statement to parliament on Tuesday, some MPs even threatened to resign, according to the Gulf Daily News.

The government has proposed axing meat subsidies from August 1, sparking uproar among many MPs.

Under the proposals, eligible Bahrainis would be compensated with payments made to their bank accounts, but MPs claim it is unclear who exactly would qualify for payments.

Bahrain is also proposing to ramp up fees for currently subsidised government services from August 1, scrap power and water subsidies in a second phase of cuts, and oil and gas subsidies in the third phase, likely to be next year.

The statement from MPs reportedly read: “We reject the government’s unilateral decision to axe meat subsidies last week and other cuts that will follow, as announced by the Cabinet on Monday, which contradicts the agreement that nothing will be enforced without MPs’ and Shura Council members’ consent.”

It continued: “We want a comprehensive and precise study that addresses the negatives and positives from all aspects and angles, whether living standards or the financial impact, which the Cabinet has never presented to us.

“The new budget will not be passed unless what was agreed with MPs in the four-year government (financial) plan (submitted to parliament in February) is respected.”

Meanwhile, statistics released in parliament on Tuesday by Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s justice, Islamic affairs and endowment affairs minister, showed that 9,120 plots of land in Bahrain were sold to foreigners between 2009 and mid-February 2015.

During the same period, 10,000 properties were purchased by foreigners, Gulf Daily News reported, compared to 4,877 bought by GCC nationals.

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