By Abdul Rawuf
15% increase for the public sector has been delayed for another 12 months amid impact of low oil prices
Bahrain has delayed plans to award government workers a pay rise of 15 percent, due to a tightening of government expenditure in response to declining oil revenues.
The Shoura Council on Sunday voted to delay the pay rise for public sector workers for another 12 months, Gulf Daily News reported.
“The government is facing huge challenges and has to reduce unnecessary spending… We are currently in a dark tunnel and instead of helping search for light, increasing wages would mean we remain in the dark for a long time,” said Khalid Al Maskati, chairman of the council’s financial and economic affairs committee.
“We need more time to study the long and short term future and there has to be a comparison between income and costs... Living standards are way below other GCC countries, but the country has to take tough decisions which are out of its hands or else it will fall – it will fall flat.”
The move came as it was revealed the kingdom’s deficit for this year and next year could rise by up to two thirds to BD5 billion ($13.2 billion), as a result of the fall in oil prices.
The concerns appeared genuine as Brent oil traded near $28 a barrel as it extended declines after international sanctions on Iran were lifted, paving the way for increased exports from the OPEC producer amid a global glut, Bloomberg reported.