Bahrain Roundup 2020: Financial Reforms from Pockets of the Poor, Halting Annual Bonus for Retirees

2021-01-14 - 5:08 am

Bahrain Mirror (Roundup 2020): In order to reform the country's finances, the authorities have made decisions that have once again affected the livelihoods of citizens, including the suspension of retirees' annual bonus.

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued (July 13, 2020) a decree passing a package of resolutions, including halting the combination of retirees' salaries and annual bonus under the pretext of funding pension funds.

The King's decision came after thousands of employees voluntarily retired as part of a plan to cut the state's recurrent expenditures, which political parties saw as a premeditated act.

The King also issued another decree on the same day to stop the deduction of oil revenues for the Future Generations Reserve Fund, deduct $450 million from the Future Generations Reserve Fund only once in order to support the state's general budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2020.

The King justified the decree saying that it aims at limiting the financial repercussions of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Al-Wefaq issued a statement saying that these decrees contained a number of very harsh measures, which constitute an unprecedented disaster that would exhaust and pressure citizens amid lack of planning and vision, which threaten the basic elements of social and material stability of citizens.

Al-Wefaq stated that the retirement crisis has been ongoing for many years, and the regime is aware of its simple details, noting that it did not take the initiative to save the pension funds, but rather caused further tampering and corruption. It stressed that all the regime's plans and programs fall on the citizens' shoulders and force them to bear all the consequences.

Seven political parties said that they look forward to "representatives of the people who reject any trends that detract from the rights and privileges of retirees, and we hold the MPs responsible for any stance that does not reflect the popular position regarding this issue that is not in line with the community consensus required on a issue of this importance."

For its part, the Services Committee in the Parliament recommended (December 6, 2020) the rejection of a decree on pension law, after failing to reach a consensus with the government on the continued disbursement of this year's annual increase to low-income retirees.

The decrees follow a series of measures taken by the authorities in recent years that have severely affected the lives of citizens, including the VAT.

The Government rejected bills proposing the imposition of taxes on corporate profits or white lands.

Additionally, the government submitted (December 2, 2020) a draft to the House of Representatives on the state budget law that would ensure that subsidies on electricity will be lifted by 2022, in addition to increasing government revenues from the VAT.

Budget allocations have shown how the government ignores opening basic spending doors for citizens. While the government has allocated only 200,000 dinars to treating citizens abroad, it has allocated about 2 million dinars to the equestrian club and horse racing.

Arabic Version