Manama, Sep 30 (IANS) Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Wednesday reshuffled the cabinet by merging two ministries as part of new austerity measures.

Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and his deputies remained unchanged along with the ministers of interior, finance, foreign affairs, energy and justice, Xinhua news agency reported.

The social development ministry was merged with the labour ministry, while health minister Sadiq Al Shehabi was replaced by Faeqa Al Saleh.

Information Affairs Authority President Isa Al Hammadi was given another portfolio of the Shura Council and Council of Representatives Affairs minister.

The step comes as part of the government’s vision for the upcoming phase to cope with the economic challenges.

The prime minister hailed the merging of the ministries and governmental bodies as a “positive step to save expenditures and enhance efficient performance”.