New virus help plan

A NEW financial package for the next three months is set to be drawn up by the government to further offset the impact of Covid-19.

It follows a deal reached yesterday between Parliament’s and Shura Council’s financial and economic affairs committees and a ministerial team, led by Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

The package, which will be built on the current BD4.3 billion stimulus which expires on June 30, will be re-engineered to sectors that have been heavily affected by the pandemic.

The government will present its blueprint to Parliament and Shura Council ahead of its roll-out.

It will aim to pay wages for three more months for Bahrainis working in the affected sectors, in addition to shouldering electricity and water bills for Bahrainis and affected businesses.

It will also include special financial support to the six most affected categories of businesses: Hotels and restaurants, salons, cinemas, travel agencies, sports halls, and training institutes.

Parliament financial and economic affairs committee chairman Ahmed Al Salloom, who co-chaired the virtual meeting, said the new package would be ready before the month-end.

“The new package as agreed with the government will certainly take into account the most affected, as well as those affected through registration whether for wage payments or exemptions,” he said.

“Then a smaller package would be also introduced for October to December and so on until things are back to normal.

Trade

“Any market crash for any reasons would effect the entire economy and the government wouldn’t allow that to happen as it would be devastating on individuals and businesses.”

He added that legislators were more concerned about Bahrainis not losing their jobs or having their income affected.

“The new wage payments from the Unemployment Fund will have to consider its resources after having last year funded the early voluntary retirement scheme besides paying the wages of Bahrainis in the private sector from April to June.”

Mr Al Salloom also said trade with other countries had to resume at some point because that would refresh the economy.

Meanwhile, the meeting co-chairman, Shura Council financial and economic affairs committee chairman Khalid Al Maskati, said the challenges are being met with regular assessments as the Covid-19 situation keeps changing factors.

“Oil prices are low and there is a new challenge to prepare the 2021-2022 national budget set for debate in October,” he said.

“The budget deficit and how to deal with necessary spending besides amounts needed to protect the economy are all new tough challenges.”

Challenges

He said all efforts are being made to provide financial support to those affected or are at risk of getting affected.

He said the small and medium enterprises needed special care to ensure they continue operations.

Present at the meeting were Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan, Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Alzayani and Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain.

 

Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/826188/New--virus-help-plan

 

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