Bahrain without 2021 Fiscal Balance, Deficit Reaches 3.4 Bln and Public Debt without Ceiling, Who Protects Citizens?

2021-03-27 - 5:17 ص

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Raising Bahrain's public debt ceiling to 15 billion dinars ($39.682 billion) puts further pressure on the country's public budget, while plans to pay off accumulated debts since Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa took office in 1999 are absent.

Debt accumulated due to mismanagement, financial corruption, unnecessary spending on projects such as the Bahrain Circuit, Gulf Air restructuring and other failed investments.

The government has borrowed billions for failed projects or to pay off debt interest. It seems that there was no ceiling to the borrowing. The government increased the ceiling to 13 billion BD in 2017 and to 15 billion in 2020.

What is the fate of these debts and how would they affect people's conditions? Unfortunately, it seems that no one has a clear answer to this question.

"He found plans to raise the debt ceiling, but he did not find a plan for the government to pay off the debt (...) All the government has is merely wishes," said Jamal Fakhro, deputy speaker of the Shura Council.

He wondered "from where will the government bring financial savings to pay off the debt?"

Fakhro knows that the government will not bring financial savings, as it announced by ratifying the draft budget for fiscal years 2021-2022, that it has failed even to rebalance the lost financial balance of the country's finances, how would it be then able to achieve savings?

The country's budget deficit for 2021 is estimated at 1.276 billion dinars in 2021 and 1.145 million dinars in 2022, with a total deficit of 3.4 billion dinars, according to the country's budget figures.

It acknowledges that the fiscal balance plan announced in 2018 in partnership with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait has failed, but has not yet announced an alternative plan to achieve balance or even a final ceiling to borrowing.

Citizens fear that the government plans to lift more subsidies on basic goods and services in order to reduce the deficit it has approved in the public budget for the next two fiscal years.

The main data included in the budget do not show allowances for fuel and electricity support. The government refused to respond clearly to parliamentary inquiries on fuel and energy subsidies.

MP Fadel Al-Sawwad said the MPs raised the issue of continuity of fuel and electricity subsidies to government representatives, but they did not receive a clear answer.

He noted that the budget was vague and did not contain any indication that the government would continue its support.

The Government said that social support for the citizens most in need would continue.

Therefore, there is nothing yet on imposing taxes on banks, corporations or white lands in an attempt to curb public debt, however, doubts continue to be raised about the government's intention to impose more measures that would harm its citizens. 

Arabic Version