Coping with twin shocks

MANAMA: The Finance and National Economy Ministry yesterday announced its preliminary fiscal estimates for 2020.

It noted that despite the twin shocks of Covid-19 and lower oil prices, the kingdom ensured strict fiscal discipline in 2020 and is committed to continuing its Fiscal Balance Programme to achieve its medium-term targets.

The ministry announced that preliminary data for 2020 showed that total public revenues amounted to BD2,139 million, a decrease of BD807m compared with the approved budget.

It also highlighted that the decline was driven by lower global oil prices, adding that oil revenues amounted to BD1,250m, a 40 per cent decrease of BD846m compared with the approved budget.

The total fiscal deficit amounted to BD1,624m, an increase of BD817m.

The ministry emphasised the importance of doubling efforts to overcome all challenges presented by current unprecedented global circumstances, and underscored the importance of further strengthening development.

Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa stressed Bahrain’s resolve to press ahead with all efforts to achieve national welfare and development despite challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on oil prices and economic conditions.

Meanwhile, during a meeting with editors-in chief of local newspapers, held remotely yesterday, Shaikh Salman stressed the government’s commitment to reduce expenditure while seeking to improve services using the latest technologies.

“Reducing expenses concern only administrative budgets, not services. Government services will not be affected,” he said.

He expected the economic activity to improve during the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter of this year with the coronavirus vaccine and the world adapting to the pandemic, in addition to an increase in oil prices, which will enable the country to gradually return to normal.

Akhbar Al Khaleej editor-in-chief Anwar Abdulrahman said the commercial sector is witnessing major difficulties and small traders – many of whom have had to shut shop or curtail their activities – are at the mercy of landlords.

He called on landlords to be more flexible.

“At present, owners shouldn’t think of making profit. These aren’t profitable years. We should think of continuity as the matter requires concerted efforts nationwide to confront such a crisis,” he said.

 

Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/935340/Coping-with-twin-shocks

 

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