Viewpoint: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

At the national level, our main priority is to achieve financial balance by adopting a well-defined programme that accelerates national efforts to rectify the public budget situation and diversify our income, under the supervision of the prime minister and with help from the crown prince. We express pride in the strong performance of the national economy, which has managed to maintain positive growth and enhance its global financial reputation.

In line with our commitments to the national economy and to the development of its sources of income, we aim to continue working to attract and encourage national and international investment. We are striving to create further work opportunities, particularly through the diversification of energy supply and development of the oil sector, which are experiencing a qualitative leap following the discovery of the largest oil and gas field in the history of Bahrain. In this regard, we look forward to the field-development plans, which are expected to yield desirable returns.

We call on members of the legislative authority to take into account the priorities of national action and future requirements, and to continue the efforts of those before them in supporting the necessary reforms and actions, among the most important of which relates to the sustainability of pension funds to ensure their ability to fulfil their obligations towards future generations. We also call upon the government to prioritise plans to develop areas of investment and diversify sources of income for insurance funds in order to improve the services provided to retirees. Additionally, we call upon the government to work intensively on reviewing its policies in a comprehensive manner, with the objective of accelerating the pace of national action and maximising gains.

We convey our sincere thanks to our brothers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait for their stances, which we highly appreciate, in supporting our national efforts to achieve financial balance and economic growth. We will work to strengthen elements of our integration and economic cooperation with our neighbours, within the context of common policies that aim to maintain the security and stability of the region, and safeguard its gains.

As part of our commitment to our Arab and Islamic surroundings, we will continue to defend our Arab and Islamic causes in international forums, and the Palestinian issue is at the forefront of our interests. We will seek to ensure that the Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights, including the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

We highlight the leading role of Bahraini women in preserving national identity and tradition, which has contributed to shaping our contemporary civil state. We are surpassing the stage of empowerment, support and recognised rights, to reach a stage in which we witness Bahraini women fully enjoying their human rights and working alongside their brothers in balanced partnership towards economic development.

Any national discourse would not be complete without commending the important role of our defence and security forces, and their affiliates, leaders and personnel. We appreciate their efforts and commitment, and are proud of their achievements. We cherish the sacrifices they have made in order to preserve the security and stability of our country.

The steadfastness and determination to develop our country has an important role in maintaining national stability, territorial integrity and unity, as well as in transforming our aspirations of reforms and modernisation into a real and successful experience. Through a preservation of national identity, and an Arab and Islamic character, and through a commitment to the protection and stability of the region, Bahrain continues its humanitarian role, extending bridges of love and peace with its international family.

The above is adapted from a speech given at the first session of the fifth legislative term in December 2018.