"The huge development [projects] are aimed at re-energizing the national economy and ensuring [it will have more of] an edge," he said. He instructed officials in the government to suggest a list of such projects along with their estimated costs and deadlines.
"The priority should be put first and foremost on housing and infrastructure," the Prime Minister said during a work meeting.
This initiative is part of a series of proposals by the government to return Bahrain to normalcy. Earlier this month the Crown Prince called on all opposition groups to enter a "National Dialogue" and explore ways to foster reform in Bahrain.
In other developments, the Central Bank of Bahrain has been instructed to provide more help to businesses in overcoming negative repercussions resulting from the country's recent civil unrest.
The Prime Minister directed bank officials to co-ordinate extra measures with banks and financial institutions to help the private sector regain its pivotal role as a driving force within the national economy.
"The government is working hard for the economy to emerge stronger and surmount any negative repercussions," he said.
The royal decrees issued by King Abdullah include:
- Payment of two-month salary to all public civil and military personnel.
- Payment of two-month stipend to all public higher education students.
- Payment of SR 2,000 ($533) per month for job-seekers at the public and private sectors.
- Increase the minimum wage in the public sector to SR 3,000 ($800) per month.
- Construction of 500,000 residential units in all regions of the Kingdom and appropriating a total amount of SR 250 billion ($66.7 billion) for that project, which will be implemented under the supervision of the General Commission for Housing.
- Raised the maximum amount of interest-free loans issued by the Real Estate Development Fund from SR 300,000 ($80,000) to SR 500,000 ($133,333) per applicant.
- Established a National Commission on Combating Corruption, and appointed Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Shareef as its president at the rank of minister.
- Provision of SR 16 billion ($4.3 billion) to the Ministry of Health to implement and expand several medical projects in various regions.
- Raised the limit of financial assistance to private hospital from SR 50 million ($13.3 million) to SR 200 million ($53.3 million).
- Creation of 60,000 law enforcement jobs at the Ministry of Interior.
He issued pardons to military service members who have been absent from duty up to 180 days, and he has spearheaded salary increases for all military personnel. In addition, he raised the age of non-Kuwaiti military personnel to 65-years old.
According to Kuwaiti government officials, these initiative are in advance of the upcoming celebrations in Kuwait this month such as the 20th anniversary of Kuwait's liberation from Iraq by the United States and its allies.
February was also the month to celebrate the 5th anniversary of His Royal Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's rise to power as Kuwait's monarch. The Minister of Defense said the pardons and salary increases are part of an ambitiously positive agenda for 2011.
"Kuwait's military is vital to our safety, strength and security," the Defense Minister said in a press statement. "When we have opportunities to encourage our service members, we must do what we can. It is my hope that all absent service members take advantage of this opportunity for amnesty by returning to duty."
Both the Amir and the Prime Minister avoided using the term "deserter" to describe AWOL (away without leave) members of the Kuwaiti armed services.
Kuwait's Higher Council of Defense approved the salary increases with the urging of Sheikh Jaber. The council originally proposed an 80 percent increase, but Sheikh Jaber advocated a 100 percent pay raise.
The approved increase varies according to rank, ranging between 72 percent and 115 percent and will include all military personnel in the Army, Interior Ministry, National Guard and Fire Department.
While the Kuwaiti government is advocating kindness and generosity towards its service members, several experts in Middle East geopolitics and military affairs believe the monarchy is seeking to maintain control, loyalty and allegiance of its army, intelligence service and law enforcement officers should civil unrest occur.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.