Bahrain Cabinet approved new budget

Subsidies to be maintained despite spending cuts

  
Image for illustrative purposes. Central Bank of Bahrain official shows new BD$10 on first day of its release in Manama.

Image for illustrative purposes. Central Bank of Bahrain official shows new BD$10 on first day of its release in Manama.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

MANAMA: The government expects to generate BD4.624 billion in revenues for fiscal years 2021-22 – based on $45 per barrel benchmark price in the global oil markets.

The two-year state general budget estimates revenues to reach BD2.285bn next year and BD2.339bn in 2022.

Chaired by Deputy Premier Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, the weekly Cabinet session yesterday approved the draft budget law and referred it to Parliament.

Total recurring expenses are estimated to be BD3.296bn in 2021 and BD3.219bn in 2022.

A total of BD656 million has been identified for development projects for each fiscal year, in part taken from the Gulf Development Programme.

The draft budget aims to reduce primary deficit to BD568m in 2021 and BD388m in 2022. Overall deficit estimates stand at BD1.276bn for financial year 2021 and BD1.145bn for 2022.

The draft budget law states that the Fiscal Balance Programme has achieved its 2019 objectives.

However, reduced oil revenues, driven by crude prices below estimates, and the unprecedented economic impact of Covid-19 on non-oil revenues, have increased the overall deficit.

It noted continued commitment to control expenditures by reducing government administrative expenses by 30 per cent during the period.

The plan envisages to maintain social support for needy citizens, enhance public services and optimise their efficiency.

The government also commits to achieving the goals set in the Fiscal Balance Programme, focusing mainly on boosting non-oil revenues, achieving economic recovery in the coming period and employing jobseekers.

The National Audit Office (NAO) Report 2019-2020 was referred to the Government Executive Committee, chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, to verify its remarks and recommendations, in accordance with the review mechanism in force.

The Cabinet thanked ministries and government departments on which no substantial remarks were made in the report, which reflects their commitment to regulations and laws, Cabinet secretary general Dr Yasser Al Nasser said.

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