Bahrain extends stimulus package

MANAMA: Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa yesterday announced the extension of stimulus measures to support private sector jobs and citizens.

He said that in line with Royal Directives, the government has decided to take additional stimulus measures following consultation with the legislative authority and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Over a three-month period starting from July, the government will support 50 per cent of salaries for insured citizens employed in the private sector working for companies most affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19), under a scheme administrated by the Labour and Social Development Ministry and in co-operation with relevant entities.

For the same three-month period the government will meet citizens’ domestic electricity costs for primary residences, up to the full cost of the same period the preceding year.

Economic sectors most adversely affected by the repercussions of Covid-19 will be further supported by the Labour Fund (Tamkeen) according to the controls and conditions approved by its board of directors.

Shaikh Salman said: “We review our necessary and targeted economic interventions on an ongoing basis, always ready to make adjustments or take additional steps, where we anticipate emerging pressures or particular sector requirements.

“This additional package of measures will further reduce pressure on households and families across the kingdom, at the same time supporting the many jobs of those employed in the private sector, as their employers continue to respond to the unique economic challenges posed by Covid-19.

Shaikh Salman expressed a strong belief that Bahrain will overcome challenges of the coronavirus pandemic thanks to citizens’ solidarity, determination and strong love for their country.

He was speaking as he yesterday held a virtual joint meeting with Parliament’s financial and economic affairs committee chairman MP Ahmed Al Salloom, Shura Council’s financial and economic affairs committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Sameer Nass in the presence of Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan and Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Alzayani.

Government’s delegation members stressed that the most affected establishments will be determined in accordance with rules and conditions set by the Labour and Social Development Minister in co-ordination with relevant entities, Mr Al Salloom and Mr Al Maskati told our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej.

Mr Humaidan said Bahraini citizens are the main focus of all government’s initiatives particularly under the current circumstances.

Mr Alzayani underscored the importance of creating such qualitative initiatives for playing a crucial role in backing the kingdom’s development march by supporting sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The cost of the new minimised package has been revealed to the GDN.

The Cabinet has also agreed to pay 50pc of Bahrainis’ wages in the most affected sectors for three more months at BD70m, which is a third of the original BD215m spent from April to June.

The water and electricity bills for Bahrainis with one household for three more months will cost between BD12m and BD15m.

“This is the rough cost associated with the new minimised package presented to us to provide assurances to people that the government will not let their lives be affected,” Mr Al Maskati told the GDN.

“For now the money to be withdrawn from the Unemployment Fund is around BD70m and for electricity and water between BD12m and BD15m,” he added.

Legislators are set to meet next week with the government to evaluate further necessary action.




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