MPs to back government

THE government’s closing financial statement for 2019 is set to be approved by MPs who described it as “flawless”.

It will be the first such statement to be given the green light since 2007.

Legislators have been rejecting closing statements year after year with claims that they were “incomplete” or “lacked vital information”. However, the Shura Council has been approving them, all the while adding numerous observations on the government’s spending.

The statement for 2019 is being wrapped up by Parliament’s financial and economic affairs committee for debate and a vote before the year-end.

“The closing statement for 2019 has huge positive indicators as the government’s Fiscal Balancing Programme has been reflected clearly,” committee vice-chairman Ali Ishaqi told the GDN.

“There has been overspending – but money has been spent on digitalisation of conventional work. In long term, it would help save money while fast-tracking government work,” he added.

“Slump in oil prices led to a drop in revenues, but the budget was handled effectively.”

He claimed that electricity and water bills in some ministries and government bodies were higher than their estimates.

“Even spending on expats in government jobs is extremely high and we want to restrict this through a plan – we however understand that not everyone can be asked to leave at this moment.”

The GDN reported yesterday that answers are being sought over excessive government borrowing despite huge savings in 2017 and 2018.

Shura Council first vice-chairman Jamal Fakhro claimed the government had borrowed BD1.3 billion “unnecessarily” – BD530 million in 2017 and BD805m in 2018.

Meanwhile, Finance and National Economy Ministry Finance Affairs Under-Secretary Yousif Humood said in a statement that the borrowed amounts in 2017 and 2018 were in line with proper procedures to manage the deficit in the budget.




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