HRH Premier chairs regular weekly cabinet meeting

Manama, Jun. 1. (BNA) – The cabinet has welcomed the positive outcome of the recent visit of the Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to the kingdom and hailed the importance of his talks with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The cabinet has also praised the importance of the agreements signed on the sidelines of the visit in bolstering Bahraini-Tajil cooperation in the fields of investment, culture, tourism and air transport, among others, the Secretary-General of Cabinet Dr. Yaser bin Essa Al-Nasser stated.

In a statement following today’s regular weekly cabinet meeting, chaired by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, at the Gudaibiya palace, Dr. Al-Nasser said HRH Premier had directed to focus on service and infrastructure projects that contribute to improving the citizens’ living standards.

In this regard, the Prime Minister directed the Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry to acquire land lots to provide public parks and spaces in old neigbourhoods in Muharraq city.

HRH Premier also instructed to open the Isa Town souq as soon as its construction is completed and all safety measures are in place in order to avert similar accidents in the future, requesting the Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry to coordinate with the relevant sides in order to implement his directives.

The cabinet reviewed the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee for Services and Infrastructure on the report submitted by the Ministry of Interior regarding the Isa Town Souq fire and requested the Ministry of Municipalities’ Affairs and Urban Planning to look into public safety procedures and adopt preventive measures to avoid the recurrence of such incidents through taking stringent action against those found violating storage procedures, safe electrical wiring and measures and intensifying inspection visits.

On health, HRH Premier directed the Ministry of Health to reduce the waiting time for sickle cell patients at the Accidents and Emergency Department, and speed up procedures to transfer those patients to the new building in order to ensure they receive the best medical care and treatment.

On the government’s efforts to combat terrorism, the cabinet discussed a memo presented by the Minister of Interior on preventing terrorists from exploiting the government’s financial aid and services, and referred it to the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs to review it with the concerned sides.

A memorandum on specifying fees payable by both employment agencies and licensed manpower consultants was approved by the cabinet. The Ministerial Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs called for specifying fees to be levied on foreign employers when they apply for both fresh work permits as also for domestic workers, and recommended amending some of the current fees while maintaining others to avoid creating additional burdens on business owners.

Reviewing a memorandum, presented by the Minister of State for Telecommunications Affairs, the cabinet lauded the growth of the telecommunications sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

According to the Network Readiness Index (NRI), Bahrain was ranked 29th worldwide and third in the Arab world.

Figures revealed that the kingdom’s mobile phone services recorded 2.21 million subscriptions at the end of 2013 — an increase of 4 per cent between 2012 and 2013, its broadband Internet services recorded 1.63 million subscribers at the end of 2013, with an increase of 30.5 per cent for 2012and 2013, its fixed telephone services recorded 251,000 subscribers at the end of 2013 — of which 35 per cent subscribers used fixed wireless technology (WiMAX) and its mobile broadband service prices fell by 65 per cent and by fixed line broadband service by 38 per cent, between 2012 and 2013.

The cabinet also discussed mechanisms to decide on applications for temporary exemption or reduction of fees on civil aviation activities, in line with the Civil Aviation Law No. (14) for the year 2013 and referred to the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs for further review.
Regarding the proposals submitted by the Council of Representatives, the cabinet endorsed a plan to implement a housing project in the Hajjiyet region in the Central Governorate, with 150 units and 160 flats, stressing that the construction will start in this year.

It also approved to establish a social building in Muharraq’s third constituency that serves local residents, especially retirees and the elderly.

Other proposals include assessing the environmental impact, ensuring implementation of environmental standards and requirements in the implementation of development projects at Tubli Wastewater Treatment Plant; allocation of additional land for the development of clubs and youth centres and building housing units in the Central Governorate, the Secretary-General of Cabinet said.

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