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Government and MPs Agree: Billions in Exchange for Scraps

2023-06-03 - 11:59 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Based on financial analysis, the government in Bahrain has provided scraps to the country through meager bonuses approved by the MPs and Shura Council members in the meetings of the general budget draft. Meanwhile, through the announced agreement on the budget, the government has guaranteed hundreds of millions to be stolen via secret budgets.

Through the announced agreement with the Bahraini government, the MPs approved the draft budget for the next two years 2023-2024 based on an estimated oil price at only $60 per barrel.

According to the draft referred by the government to the parliament, the budget will record a deficit in the two fiscal years, 493 million dinars for 2023 and 76 million dinars for 2024.

The Parliament's approval of the $60 price per barrel is an approval of an unrealistic low figure, as oil prices continue to rise in light of the effects of the war on Ukraine and the agreement to reduce production approved by OPEC Plus, while the price of a barrel approved by the government comes in opposition to the market trends.

The World Bank has decided to keep the price of an oil barrel at 90$ in 2023 at least, so upon what did the MPs base thier decision to approve the government's very low estimations?  

The MPs could have agreed to set the price of a barrel at estimates slightly lower than the World Bank's forecasts, which could have been approved at $80 a barrel, as Saudi Arabia did, for instance.

If the MPs set the oil barrel price at $80, which is a fair price, state revenues would be $3 billion more than the two fiscal years (1 billion and 128 million dinars).

With the MPs' agreement with the government delegation to raise the borrowing ceiling to one billion dinars, the government will continue to borrow to pay off a deficit that does not already exist, a ploy it always resorts to in order to transfer funds to private accounts or secret budgets. This is the game they play, offering scraps in exchange for the guarantee of hundreds of millions to those in power.

We are facing a scenario that is repeated annually: unrealistic deficit estimates that deprive citizens of opportunities to benefit from oil savings, and opening the door to large-scale borrowing operations to cover a deficit that does not exist. 

Every year, the government accumulates loans of more than half a billion dinars burdening the state, while these funds go to the pockets of the ruling family or, at best, cover unnecessary security and military expenses. 

This is not the only mistake the MPs committed in this agreement with the government, the coming days will reveal more losses affecting the people of Bahrain and the country.

Arabic Version