The lifespan of the pension fund has been extended up to 2034 as the total deficit has been reduced by 50 per cent, from BD486 million in 2022 to BD249m in 2023, Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa told MPs yesterday.

He added that original measures to extend the lifespan of pension fund under the Social Insurance Organisation (SIO) up to 2086 have been scrapped following legislators’ concerns.

“The issue is much more difficult and requires we work with legislators to reach a balance before returning to profitability so that pension pay rises can be reinstated,” he stressed.

The minister said that last year the SIO’s revenues were BD576m compared to BD307m in 2022.

“The SiO spent BD793m in 2022 compared to BD825m last year,” he added.

“The deficit has dropped by around 50pc to BD249m in 2023.”

Shaikh Salman was responding during the weekly session to a question on the SIO’s financial status by Hassan Bukhammas.

The minister revealed the audited numbers would be presented to legislators later this month.

Meanwhile, Youth Affairs Minister Rawan Tawfiqi said, in response to two questions by Mamdooh Al Saleh and Ali Al Dossary on youth centres, that none have merged from December 2022 to date.

“There are 38 youth centres in Bahrain with nine situated in the Southern Governorate – two in constituency nine (Safra and Zallaq),” said Ms Tawfiqi.

“We are working on revamping the Zallaq Youth Centre and are awaiting the allocation of a plot for the Safra Youth Centre,” she added.

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