Analysis of Bahrain Budget over 7-Year Period: There's a Secret and Public Budget (Study by Al-Wefaq)

2021-03-24 - 5:26 ص

Bahrain Mirror: Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society launched an analytical piece on the Kingdom's public budget from 2016 to 2022.

Their analytical take revealed that the state's "private revenues" are not enlisted within the kingdom's official budgets. Thus, we can conclude that Bahrain has two budgets; an official and announced one, and a confidential one.

It confirmed that the salaries and bonuses of the national security apparatus are not enlisted in the budget, under the confidentiality claim. Al-Wefaq also noted the chronic deficit in Bahrain's budget which amounts to more than 7.6 billion BD (around $20.2 Billion).

It said that the deficit has increased since the outbreak of the political crisis in Bahrain in 2011, as the deficit has risen to $30.0 billion since the beginning of the events and that Bahrain's public debt has reached 120%-130% of the GDP, noting that it is rapidly increasing due to the absence of a vision and the authorities' reliance on borrowing and taxes to cover corruption and wastage.

It found that the Bahraini government's excess in borrowing from home and abroad has a serious consequence, the erosion of the budgetary capacity to meet the vital requirements of the Bahraini people, and that 40% of Bahrain's expenses are consumed by the security and defense apparatus.

One of the most notable results of the "analytical vision of the financial budgets of the Kingdom of Bahrain from 2016 to 2022" report is that the general budget in Bahrain does not include all aspects of public revenues, as well as all expenditure items, especially those related to sources of oil revenues, and spending on the institutions on forces and security (defense, internal, national security, national guard), and allowances of public debt services or interests.

The main feature of Bahrain's budget is a permanent and chronic deficit, leading to more borrowing and the dilemma of external and internal debt, which puts the Bahraini government and society on the brink of a volcano of economic anxiety and social storms.

Not including the ruling family allowances in the budget is a bad habit, and is not practiced in democratic regimes, whether they are monarchies or republics.

There is an imbalance between state expenditures on the security and defense sectors, and state spending on basic services for the people, where they are almost equal and account for 40% of budget expenditures on average annually. However, in budgets of democratic countries the defense and security allocations do not exceed 15% to 20%, which we find in Bahrain to be twice higher, although the risks and threats to Bahrain do not require all this spending on security and defense.

All of this is met with a degree of extravagance on the part of the ruling family and the allied political class, which is manifested in many aspects: luxury lives, festivals and entertainment events, and attempts to buy loyalties from journalists, intellectuals, media professionals and various elites, whether in Bahrain, in the Arab region or the world, according to the study conducted by Al-Wefaq.

Arabic Version