HRH Prime Minister chairs weekly Cabinet session

Manama, July 6 (BNA): His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa today chaired the regular weekly Cabinet session, attended by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

 

HM King’s keynote speech lauded

 

HRH the Prime Minister lauded the values embedded in the keynote speech delivered by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Supreme Commander, while chairing the meeting of the Supreme Defence Council.

 

HRH Premier expressed pride in HM the King’s appreciation of the government’s work, which, he said, will motivate it to double its efforts in order to achieve the royal expectations, said a statement by the Cabinet Secretary-General, Dr. Yasser bin Isa Al-Nasser, following the session which was held via the video conferencing technology.

 

HRH Premier congratulates HH Shaikh Nasser

 

HRH Premier congratulated Major-General His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa on his appointment as per an order issued by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as Secretary-General of the Supreme Defence Council.

 

HRH Premier lauded the major role played by HH Shaikh Nasser in the military and strategic security fields, commending his valuable efforts in serving the kingdom’s progress.

 

School re-opening plan should take students’ health, interests into account

 

The Prime Minister gave directives to ensure that the plan to re-open public and private educational institutions should be based on the expected situation of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as take the students’ interests, safety and the right to continue their education into account.

 

The Supreme Council for the Development of Education and Training, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister, HH Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, was requested to take the necessary procedures to achieve that goal.

 

Directives to study situation of overseas Bahraini workers

 

HRH Premier gave directives to the Ministry of Works and Social Development to coordinate with the relevant authorities and study the situation of laid-off oversees Bahraini workers who returned home, and those who cannot return to their work abroad because of the current circumstances.

 

Bahrain’s success in maintaining Tier 1 status welcomed

 

The cabinet welcomed the kingdom’s success in maintaining Tier 1 status in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report for the third straight year, noting that Bahrain’s top ranking in the MENA region and achievement reflect the government’s success in combating such dangerous crimes that conflict the global conscience, through enacting the necessary legislation and bringing those who commit them to justice. 

 

While reviewing a memorandum presented by the Foreign Affairs Minister on the kingdom’s efforts to improve the work environment and combat trafficking in persons, the session commended the efforts exerted by the competent authorities in this regard, including the Ministry of Interior, the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry, the Labour and Social Development Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority and the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

 

Modified organisational structure of Premier’s Court endorsed; BACA to be restructured

 

The cabinet, based on HRH Premier’s directives, and a recommendation by the Civil Service Council, led by HRH the Crown Prince, endorsed the modified organisational structure of the Court of HRH the Prime Minister.

 

The session also approved the restructuring of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), by transferring the affiliation of the Handicrafts Directorate from the Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) to it.

 

It also approved the re-structuring of the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) by canceling the Communication Directorate and changing the affiliation of some directorates.

 

Some LMRA fees to be reduced

 

Based on a recommendation by the Government Executive Committee, led by HRH the Crown Prince, the cabinet approved a decision to reduce some fees imposed by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) on all kinds of work permits for one year, and all monthly fees related to them by 50% for three months, starting from this month (July).

 

Meanwhile, business owners who are involved in the commercial activities that have been most affected by the impacts of COVID-19, as will be determined by an edict by the Deputy Premier and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs and Fiscal Balance, will be exempted from those fees for three months, beginning from July.

 

The measures aim to maintain sustainable growth, in general, and achieve the stability of the labour market for Bahrain’s small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular.

 

Future Generations Reserve Fund’s report, financial statements approved

 

The Cabinet approved the annual report and audited financial statements of the Future Generations Reserve Fund for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019, ahead of its referral to the Council of Representatives.

 

The session reviewed the report and the financial statements, whose auditing did not result in any fundamental remarks.

 

The report, presented by the Minister of Finance and National Economy, showed that the Future Generations Reserve Fund’s returns have increased by 17.3% over the past year, and that its assets amounted to 918 million USD. Meanwhile, investment revenues have reached 79 million USD, marking an annual growth by about 10%, which reflects the efficiency of and the effectiveness of the investment policy of the Fund.

 

Bahrain’s Q1 Economic Report reviewed

 

The Cabinet reviewed the kingdom’s quarterly economic report for the first quarter of this year.

 

Presented by the Minister of Finance and National Economy, the report reflected the performance of the local economy, and the main economic indicators of vital sectors, in the midst of the spread of the novel coronavirus since the beginning of this year.

 

The report revealed that the real growth of the oil sector contributed to mitigating the consequences of COVID-19 during the first quarter, as the oil sector grew by 1.8% at constant prices. As for the non-oil sector, the repercussions of the pandemic were more evident, as the sector recorded a decline in annual growth of 1.7% at constant prices.

 

Bahrain’s economy recorded a year-on-year real gross domestic product (GDP) decline rate of 1.7% in Q1.

 

The performance of the non-oil sectors varied during Q1 of this year, with the manufacturing sector achieving positive real growth of 4.8%, followed by the social and personal services sector which went up by 1.3%, then the construction sector which posted a growth of 0.3%.

 

Regarding the financial projects sector, which is the largest non-oil sector contributing to Bahrain’s GDP, figures showed that it had contributed by only 16.7%, marking a decrease of 1.6%. The hotel and restaurants sector recorded the largest decline by 36% at constant prices, and the transportation and telecommunications sector also declined by 6.3%. The tourism and aviation sector was also affected by the restrictions imposed on travel, and the government services sector also recorded a decline by 2.9%. The same was true about the real estate activities sector, as well as the business services and trade sectors, with both posting a decline by 0.4% and 0.1% respectively.

 

International Expedited Traveler Initiative approved

 

The session approved the joint statement between Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior, and both the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Customs and Border Protection to develop the International Expedited Traveler Initiative.

 

The Ministerial Committee for Legal and Legislative Affairs recommended the approval of the Initiative, which was presented by the Minister of Interior.

 

Bahrain-US cooperation memo endorsed

 

The session approved a memorandum of cooperation between Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior and the US Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection.

 

Presented by the Minister of Interior, the memo aimed to enhance cooperation between the two sides in the exchange of information and data on travelers.

 

Bahrain-US letter of agreement approved

 

The session approved a letter of agreement between the Kingdom and the United States of America.

 

Presented by the Interior Minister, the letter of agreement is within the framework of training programmes between the two friendly countries in the field of combating terrorism and cooperation between the competent authorities of both sides in this regard.

 

Youth Ministry-affiliated clubs’ model regulation to be emended

 

The cabinet approved an edict on amending the provisions of the Model Regulations of the statute of clubs subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs.

 

The amendment enables the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs to recommend those who apply for the membership of clubs’ administrations, set a system for membership renewal in accordance with terms and conditions, allow the invitation and attend the general assembly meeting by any approved electronic means, establish an electronic archive, and obligate the existence of contracts for all who receive payments from clubs.

 

Final anti-dumping duties to be imposed on cement imports from Iran for 5 years

 

The cabinet agreed to impose a final anti-dumping fee of 67.5% of the value (CIF) against the imports of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries from all kinds of aqueous cement product including solid cement called “clinker”, whether it is colored of origin or exported from Iran and included under the customs clause (2523) of the customs tariff for the GCC states for a period of 5 years, starting from June 20, 2020.

 

The Cabinet instructed the Customs Affairs to implement the decision, which is based on the resolution of the GCC Ministerial Committee for Industrial Cooperation.

 

Parliamentary proposals:

 

Communication mechanism for deaf-mute people: The cabinet endorsed a proposal submitted by the Council of Representatives on developing a communication mechanism for deaf-mute people that would allow them to participate in talk shows presented by Bahrain TV. This will allow them to highlight their role in society, and shed light on their issues and needs.

 

The session praised the role by the Minister of Information Affairs and the Ministry’s affiliates in this regard, and gave directives to take advantage of modern technology to ensure increased participation of the deaf and mute in talk shows.

 

Legal action against expat street vendors: The cabinet approved a proposal submitted by the Council of Representatives to address the phenomenon of expatriate street vendors in public places, markets, roads and houses of worship and take legal action against violators.

 

The Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry was requested to take the necessary procedures, in coordination with the competent authorities.

 

Electricity bills: The Cabinet approved the government’s reply on a proposal on the citizens’ consumption of electricity in their first house.

 

Ministerial reports:

 

The cabinet was informed by the Minister of Labour and Social Development about the result of his participation in the virtual emergency meeting of Arab Social Affairs Ministers on dealing with COVID-19 impacts.

 

The session also took note, through the Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs, about an electronic system project for the review of national clubs’ budgets by the Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry.

 

Source: https://www.bna.bh/en/news?cms=q8FmFJgiscL2fwIzON1%2bDn1b6a5%2bmsiBlF5q0splU74%3d

 

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