Bahrain to add $470m into budget to address Covid-19 economic impact

Bahrain is set to inject $470 million (BD177m) into this year’s state budget to cope with the expenses of tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency funding was announced by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa through the state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

According to a previous report from BNA, Bahrain’s gross domestic product growth rates were down by 1.1 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2019.

In April the kingdom announced drastic spending cuts in an effort to stretch the budget amid the double whammy of the Covid-19 crisis and the crash in oil prices, slashing operating expenses for ministries and government departments by 30 percent.

At the time, the cabinet also agreed to reschedule a number of construction and other projects, as well as granting workers unpaid leave.

In March, Bahrain rolled out a 4.3 billion-dinar ($11.4bn) package to assist its private sector.

Bahrain, the smallest among economies of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, has the added protection of a $10bn bailout package secured from its regional allies in 2018. Still, its fiscal buffers will come under strain, with the International Monetary Fund projecting the budget deficit at about 16 percent of gross domestic product this year.

The kingdom has so far reported 33,476 cases of Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of 109 people across the country.




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