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Decree on borrowing approved.

A CONTROVERSIAL Royal Decree that allows the government to borrow up to BD5 billion was approved yesterday by the Shura Council.

Council members were divided on whether to pass the decree or reject it, on the basis that the government should adopt a better system of financial management to ensure it makes savings by spending more wisely.

The decree, which had been issued during the National Assembly's recess last year, increases the maximum borrowing limit for the government from BD3.5bn to BD5bn.

It was passed by 20 council members and rejected by 14, but if 21 had voted against it then the government would have been ordered to return all the money it had borrowed so far.

Shura Council financial and economic affairs committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati urged members to approve the increased borrowing limit, saying that it would be illogical to reject it now since the money has been already borrowed and spent.

"The borrowing has been done and money has been spent and we can't go back in time to stop it, if it hadn't happened then that's another issue that we could have dealt with," he said.

"We are alerting the government to stop borrowing and if it wants to do so next time, then it should be done through us - legislators."

Council first vice-chairman Jamal Fakhro said the government should inform legislators how it plans to repay the money it has been borrowing.

"The government continues to borrow without a policy on cutting spending or stopping unnecessary deals and it has to tell us how it would repay such huge amounts," he said.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 6, 2014
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