HRH Crown Prince chairs weekly Cabinet meeting
(Manama) – His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting at Gudaibiya Palace.
The Cabinet congratulated His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the occasion of the Kingdom’s National Day and the 18th anniversary of His Majesty’s accession to the throne. Bahrain’s National Day commemorates the establishment of the Bahraini state during the reign of Shaikh Ahmed Al Fateh in 1783 AD, and the 46th anniversary of the Kingdom being fully recognised by the United Nations.
During the meeting, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince reviewed the outcomes of his recent visit to the United States, including bilateral meetings with President Trump and U.S. Administration officials. The Cabinet discussed the range of bilateral agreements signed during the visit, which signalled a new phase in Bahrain-U.S. ties across defence, the economy and trade.
The Cabinet paid tribute to Bahraini soldiers who sacrificed their lives defending the country, while recognising that Bahrain’s Commemoration Day, which falls on 17 December, is a reminder of selfless dedication and commitment.
During the meeting, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak, Deputy Prime Minister, reviewed the outcomes of the GCC summit held in Kuwait last week. The Cabinet praised the important role of Kuwait, under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in hosting the summit, which emphasised the importance of strengthening intra-regional collaboration and cooperation.
The Cabinet also highlighted the occasion of Bahrain’s Police Day, commending the important role police officers play in protecting Bahrain’s citizens and residents.
The Cabinet went on to highlight the success of the 13th edition of the Manama Dialogue security forum. The Cabinet emphasised the role of the forum in facilitating discussions and solutions to complex regional challenges.
Latest developments in the Palestine-Israel peace process were also discussed during the meeting. The Cabinet affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain, under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad, recognises the Palestinian cause as central to Arab and Islamic affairs. The Cabinet stressed Bahrain’s support for the Palestinian right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Cabinet also highlighted the importance of avoiding any measures that could lead to delaying ongoing efforts to revive the Arab-Israeli peace process. The Cabinet went on to welcome the stance of the Arab League regarding Jerusalem and the exceptional meeting held recently by Arab Foreign Minisers in Cairo. The Cabinet also commended Arab and Islamic countries across the world for demonstrating their support to Jerusalem and the Palestinian people.
A number of submissions, memorandums and proposed laws were discussed during the meeting. The Cabinet Secretary General Dr Yasser bin Essa Al Nasser outlined the following outcomes:
Infrastructure services upgrades, housing and schools
The Ministry of Works, Municipality Affairs and Urban Planning and the Ministry of Education provided a progress report on upgrades to public services and facilities across different areas of Bahrain, including 95 development projects in Diraz, Budaiya, Bani Jamrah, Um Al Hassam, Sitra and Nabi Saleh. Of these projects, 36 are currently ongoing, to be completed by the end of 2018. 59 projects are currently under review.
The Cabinet reviewed the progress of housing projects to create up to 324 new units for local communities in Diraz, Bani Jamra, Jannusan and Al Qurayyah. An additional 748 housing units have also been allocated under the East Sitra housing project. The Cabinet also announced that an additional 1000 housing units will be allocated in Qalali, Al Dair and Samaheej as part of the Mazaya housing development project. The Cabinet also announced that the government will utilise three sites for social housing projects to benefit local communities in the Diraz and Bani Jamrah areas. The Cabinet highlighted that other sites will soon be allocated for social housing development in the Jannusan and Nabih Saleh areas.
Turning to the delivery of educational facilities, the Cabinet announced that a new elementary school is to open in the Al Malkiya area, while another elementary school is currently being developed in the Qalali area. Muharraq will also see the development of a new primary school, with schools in Budaiya to receive classroom capacity upgrades. The Cabinet stressed that new measures are being introduced to ensure the efficient use of educational facilities and prevent classroom overcrowding in public schools.
Bahrain Credit Reference Bureau
The Cabinet assigned the Ministry of Finance to manage agreements between the Bahrain Credit Reference Bureau and other government ministries and entities. Steps are underway to allow the exchange of information between those government entities that are part of the Credit Reference Bureau system.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
The Cabinet approved a draft law concerning Bahrain’s participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The draft law has now been referred to the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs.
Bahrain-Swiss Confederation DTAA
The Cabinet referred an MoU regarding tax avoidance to the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs. The MoU includes mechanisms to prevent income and capital tax evasion.
The Cabinet approved a draft law to introduce a new fee structure for notary services, improving the quality of notary services in the Kingdom.
Air Cargo services
The Cabinet approved the adoption of the National Programme for Air Cargo Facilitation as well as the establishment of a national committee responsible for air cargo facilitation. The new programme is designed to align cargo standards and procedures with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
National Budget draft law
The Cabinet referred a draft law regarding the National Budget to the Legislative Authority. The proposed law was originally submitted by the Council of Representatives.
Regulation of large vehicles
The Cabinet reviewed a proposal concerning the use of large vehicles and trucks on public roads. The proposal limits the deployment of large vehicles to official working hours only. It also prevents the illegal use of residential areas to park large vehicles. The Ministerial Committee for legal Affairs has submitted its response, which was approved by the Cabinet.