Bahrain: Where did Gulf Financial Aid Go?

2019-06-24 - 9:14 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The budget approved by the Government in Bahrain did not include any information on the Gulf support allocated by 3 States to Bahrain, which raises many questions on the disbursement mechanisms and implementation monitoring.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait had approved a joint financial support plan for Bahrain in October last year, with 10 billion dollars in return for financial reforms.

According to the government, the amounts obtained from the 3 countries are not donations, but a debt. It is true that the Government did not include the assessed share of the amount for the next two years in the budget, but also did not add it to the public debt account.

This would give the government the right to determine the disbursement of subsidies without a clear expenditure program and exempt it from any form of accountability and control.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ratified on May 31, 2019 the draft general budget for 2019-2020. According to the Bahraini Constitution, the Parliament can monitor budget spending, but this is hampered by lack of respect by the family governing the Constitution.

The government has already spent 10 billion dollars, which was approved by the 3 countries in 2011 as part of a financial program to ease the country's congestion, from which the country suffered after the eruption of the February 14 uprising.

The Government allocated the financial grant to support projects in areas inhabited by government loyalists.

Under the support of the 3 Gulf states, the government has completed housing projects in the eastern of Al-Hidd, southern governorate (Khalifa city), Wadi Al-Sail, Qalali, and Al-Ramli, along with the establishment of health centers, schools and power stations in the same areas.

In contrast, no share of the Gulf Marshall program has been allocated to the Eastern Sitra and northern city projects.

While housing has recently announced the construction of 303 housing units in the north with funding from Kuwait, Minister, Bassem Al-Hamr, reiterated that there is no budget yet for the city of eastern Sitra.

According to government data, Bahrain received some $4.6 billion in two instalments, nearly half of the amount, but did not disclose in a transparent way where the funds were disbursed.

Political societies and civil organizations demand transparency from the Government regarding the disbursement of Gulf subsidies.

Al-Wefaq called for "the formation of a national integrity and anti-corruption authority that would provide a basis for monitoring and a thorough examination of all imports and expenses".


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