Information Affairs Minister Isa Abdulrahman Al Hammadi has affirmed the government's keenness to expedite the approval of the state general budget after the Government Action Plan (GAP) is endorsed by the Representatives Council according to constitutional procedures and schedules to ensure citizen-oriented projects and initiatives are not affected.
Speaking during the post regular weekly cabinet meeting press briefing, the Minister said that the 2012 constitutional amendments stipulated that the government should submit its GAP to the Parliament within 30 days after the new cabinet was sworn in.
He explained that after the approval of the GAP, the government submits the state budget the parliament, noting that the budget is one of the implementation tools of the GAP.
On the Kingdom's relations with Lebanon following the summoning of its Chargé d'Affaires to Bahrain yesterday and asking his country to condemn the "hostile" statements made by the Secretary-General of the terrorist Hezbullah Hassan Nasrullah towards Bahrain, the Minister said that Lebanon is a brotherly country with which the Kingdom holds long-standing fraternal relations.
He pointed out that the Foreign Ministry had summoned the Lebanese Chargé d’Affaires to inform him about Bahrain's protest against the statement of the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, dubbed as a terror organisation by Bahrain and many countries across the world.
He stressed that many diplomatic steps are taken to deal with such matters.
"We have taken the first step, and will not determine the future results of this step right now," he said, adding that Bahrain hopes that its relations with all Arab countries will never be affected.
On the effects of the oil prices decline on the programmes and projects, he said that the government blueprint had taken the aspirations of the citizens and the Representatives Council into consideration, in light of the available resources and the challenges facing the country, including low oil prices, noting that the budget, being one of its executive tools, may be affected directly or indirectly by fluctuating prices of oil.
He affirmed that other than the budget, the private sector and the GCC Development Programme can also provide funds for government projects and programmes.
He emphasised that the solid executive-legislature will continue in order to face challenges and make sure the citizens are not affected by them.
Concerning media reports on the confiscation of a large quantity of tainted meat, he pointed to continuous cooperation and coordination among the competent sides in everything related to the health of the citizens and residents, adding that all necessary procedures will be taken to ensure the non-recurrence of such issues.
On the continuity of the cost-of-living allowance benefitting low income citizens, he said that the issue had never been discussed by the cabinet since the formation of the new cabinet.
Regarding the annual report of the National Audit Office (NAO), he said that the government will deal with it seriously, firmly and transparently, as was the case with the previous one.
In another context, the Minister considered the cabinet's approval of a memorandum of understanding between Bahrain's Foreign Ministry as a step to open direct diplomatic relations between the two countries, and increase joint cooperation thereafter.