BD250m spent to combat pandemic

BAHRAIN spent an estimated BD250 million on healthcare measures related to the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the last two years, Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa told the GDN.

It includes the amount for treatment, testing, facemasks, gloves and vaccines among others, said the minister.

“The government spent BD250m on healthcare expenses related only to Covid-19 in the last two years,” he said.

“This doesn’t cover general healthcare expenses, and includes all the Covid-19 testing, treating, medicines and protective measures like masks and gloves.”

His response to the GDN came during a Press conference yesterday at Gudaibiya Palace, held to announce the economic recovery plan.

“Last year we activated the emergency clause in the budget law. We went to Parliament to initiate the five per cent clause and the amount was used as a priority to combat Covid-19,” said Shaikh Salman.

“Any additional amount spent last year was covered by working again with our partners in Parliament and the Shura Council to make sure funding was sufficient.

“It is important to know that in 2020, even with the challenges of Covid-19, our expenditure was in line with the original spending and fiscal balance plan back in 2018.

“For 2021 in the state budget we worked again with Parliament to add BD50m for Covid-19 expenditure.”

Shaikh Salman reassured that the government was putting all its capabilities and resources to serve its people, especially in unprecedented situations like the pandemic.

The multidimensional economic recovery plan has ‘already been rolled out’, he said. It has been approved by the Cabinet, in consensus with the Bahrain Chamber and economists.

He added that Bahrain’s economy was on the right track, as non-oil GDP reached 12.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2021.

“Bahrain is working towards achieving the aspirations and development of its people and in each stage ensuring the much-needed strategy,” he said.

“The government has applied this measure to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, as health of the public is of highest priority.

“We announced a financial package of BD4.5 billion to protect nationals and the affected, especially those who lost their jobs.

“The economic figures of the country are assuring.

“We are on the right track as we continue our efforts to boost economic recovery and place Bahrain in the best position.”

The GDN reported last March that the government announced an economic stimulus package of BD4.3bn to offset the impact of Covid-19. Subsequently in April this year Shaikh Salman told the GDN that the government spent BD4.5bn on Covid-19 expenses. The original package, according to the minister, was used to provide support to 90,000 Bahraini employees, 380,000 electricity and water accounts and 81,000 commercial registrations and other initiatives.




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