DUBAI - Bahrain's ministry of finance expects its overall budget deficit in 2024 to narrow to 161.4 million Bahraini dinars ($428.16 million) in its latest budget statement, from a deficit of 520 million dinars in 2023.

While total spending is expected to remain at around 3.6 billion dinars in 2023 and 2024, total revenues are forecast to increase to 3.47 billion dinars next year from 3.1 billion dinars in 2023 as oil and gas revenues go up.

The Gulf kingdom has budgeted for oil revenue to increase to 2.15 billion dinars in 2024 from an estimated 1.92 billion dinars in 2023 in figures published on the finance ministry's website.

Bahrain, one of the region's smaller and weaker economies, reported GDP growth of 4.9% in 2022, its highest growth rate since 2013.

Like its neighbours, it has embarked on a strategy to diversify its economy away from oil; last year non-oil GDP grew by 6.2%, the highest since 2012.

In April, the government said it was introducing a new "golden licence" offering benefits to companies bringing large-scale investment projects, part of an economic recovery plan launched in October 2021 to boost growth and job creation.

($1 = 0.3770 Bahraini dinars)

(Reporting by Rachna Uppal Editing by Christina Fincher)