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Lower oil prompts subsidies overhaul in Bahrain

MANAMA:

A comprehensive study on overhauling the subsidy system is currently underway at Cabinet level in Bahrain, Information Affairs Minister and official government spokesman Isa Al Hammadi said.

Expatriates and private companies, not Bahrainis, will be affected by subsidy cuts, he confirmed during a Press conference after the weekly Cabinet session at Gudaibiya Palace, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN). He said the new system would be presented to the National Assembly alongside the two-year national budget for this and next year.

He added the government would continue to borrow up to BD7 billion ($18.4 billion) in line with a decree that raised the debt ceiling from BD5 billion last November, even though parliament retrospectively voted against the decree.

"We are negotiating fields of spending that will be included in the budget with members of parliament and the Shura Council and have stressed the new direction will see citizens benefit," he said.

He said the Cabinet has decided that more than half of the $10 billion GCC Aid will be directed to housing, and this will be reflected on the budget, besides other revenues. Cabinet secretary-general Dr Yasser Al Nasser said the ministerial committee for financial affairs had been tasked with reaching an agreement with MPs on the budget, which has been affected by lower oil prices.




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