Great debate over tech replacing people power

A CALL to replace government employees with technology went out from a senior legislator.

Shura Council first vice-chairman Jamal Fakhro said during the weekly session yesterday that manpower should be restricted to only sensitive government jobs.

“We took measures to encourage around 8,500 civil servants into early voluntary retirement in 2018-2019 to reduce manpower spending,” he said.

“Then we hear of thousands of Bahrainis being employed; one ministry said it was proud to have made the highest recruitment,” he added.

“So, we are just returning to the same place where we were five years ago and I fear we are strongly going in that direction.

“Manpower has to be replaced with modern technology and for the past decade we have been a proud investor and regional pioneer in it; actual employment needs to be made only for sensitive posts.”

He pointed out spending on manpower was huge that could be significantly trimmed.

“Until today, I don’t know what is the actual financial position of Bahrain, because we don’t know the precise revenues and spending,” said Mr Fakhro.

“To take a decision on spending, we need to know the state of Bahrain’s assets and finances.

“Current legislations don’t enforce proper accountability, unlike Kuwait that has a full report on where and when every fils goes.”

The comments came during a discussion on the 2021 closing government financial statement during the upper chamber’s weekly session yesterday.

Members approved the statement after numerous recommendations on how to improve spending.

During the session, the council was notified of the letters received from Parliament Speaker Ahmed Al Musallam regarding the conclusions on a draft law ratifying the agreement on the Payment Systems Interconnection System between the GCC states, attached to Decree No 20 of 2022, and notifying the council of its referral to the financial and economic affairs committee and the legislative and legal affairs committee.

The council was also informed of the question addressed to Oil and Environment Minister Dr Mohammed Bin Daina submitted by member Ijlal Bubashait regarding plans and measures to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions, and the minister’s response to it.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly was also informed of the question addressed to Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Mohammed Al Kaabi submitted by member Ali Al Shehabi regarding private vehicles (buses) licensed to transport foreign tourists, and the minister’s response to it.

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THE Shura Council’s financial and economic affairs committee met yesterday to prepare for the 2023-2024 national budget, which is expected to arrive at the National Assembly following Cabinet approval today.

Committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati divided work amongst members so as to analyse existing spending and revenues and match it with the new state budget.




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