Legislators seek to boost citizens’ living standards

PARLIAMENT has unanimously approved a series of proposals to boost the living standards of citizens who, according to MPs, have been burdened by the rising cost of living.

Legislators have also called on the government to increase the wages of Bahrainis with low income and ensure better job opportunities for youngsters.

Officials have been urged to study a proposal to form the citizens support fund that would see $1 cut from every oil barrel and gas drum sold and directed towards providing financial support to citizens.


       Among other proposals approved are:

  • 50pc discount ration cards for citizens listed under the Social Aid Scheme, whose monthly income is below BD336.
  • Giving jobless Bahrainis more time to seek roles or respond to offers before terminating their monthly unemployment allowances.
  • Enforcing full Bahrainisation at all government health facilities, centres and hospitals.
  • Providing university graduates with decent and well-paid jobs, while improving the skills and knowledge of Bahrainis in the private sector to ensure promotions and executive roles; and
  • Banning banks and commercial borrowing establishments from giving loans to citizens exceeding 50pc of their monthly income.


MP Hamad Al Doy, however, said that citizens were not seeking ration cards or a new welfare fund, but an immediate rise in income.

“A remedy in the form of ration cards or the support fund is a temporary solution and will not provide the needed boost in the long-run,” he said. “The living standards of Bahrainis are falling sharply and people want pay rises to meet their commitments.”

Meanwhile, MP Mohammed Al Olaiwi said decent living standards were a basic constitutional right and citizens “shouldn’t be begging for them”.

“The 2023-2024 national budget is set to be decided this month and it shouldn’t be passed without pay rises for citizens,” he said, adding that the government must borrow money “to help people instead of investing in projects that are doomed to fail”.

Parliament second deputy Speaker Ahmed Qarrata demanded the government offer jobs that meet citizens’ skills and qualifications.

“A female university graduate in Information Technology was offered a job as a heavy vehicle driver, while she had no licence to even drive a car,” he claimed. “The Labour Ministry should stop such unrealistic job offers.”

Parliament foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman Jameel Mulla Hassan and MP Mohammed Al Bulooshi demanded a vote to grill Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan.

MPs also debated the ‘line of basic life needs’ which continues to be calculated at BD336.

Social Development Minister Osama Al Asfoor told MPs during the weekly session yesterday that families earning less than BD336 were being given financial aid to make up for the difference in amount. He added that those receiving these payments and support were also automatically included in general social welfare.

Mr Al Asfoor was cut short by Parliament Speaker Ahmed Al Musallam, who asserted that the BD336 line of needs would be debated during an upcoming session.

“The BD336 line is so low and unacceptable and everyone wants clarity on the breakdown and what’s next, which we haven’t received,” said Mr Al Musallam. “We need answers, it is a serious public issue,” he said.

Parliament services committee vice-chairwoman Jalila Al Sayed claimed a basic mathematical calculation showed the line should be reset at BD733.

“An average middle class family should earn between BD900 and BD1,200 to lead a good life,” said Ms Al Sayed.

“The underprivileged should be those with an income below BD733 and not BD336. All aid should be adjusted to cater to the change.”

Mr Al Doy said the Social Development Minister “shouldn’t even come to the people’s chamber if he believed BD336 was acceptable”.


Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/1196287/Legislators-seek-to-boost-citizens%E2%80%99-living-standards


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