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Bahrain announced a BD4.3 billion ($11.39 billion) economic stimulus package to support the country’s citizens and private sector and counter the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economy.
A number of government ministers set out an unprecedented package of policy measures to directly support citizens, residents and businesses in the kingdom, at a press conference in Manama, a Bahrain News Agency report said.
The BD4.3 billion stimulus package is equivalent to 29.6% of Bahrain’s annual GDP.
An eight-point economic package was announced that commits the government to:
- Referring to a draft law concerning paying the salaries of all private-sector employees for three months from April 2020 from the unemployment fund, following constitutional procedures and in line with the Social Insurance Law;
- Paying individuals’ and businesses’ Electricity and Water Authority utility bills for three months from April 2020 (up to the costs incurred during the same period in 2019), while also restructuring government administrative costs to offset additional costs incurred by the government;
- Exempting all individuals and businesses from municipal fees for three months from April 2020;
- Exempting all businesses from industrial land rental fees for three months from April 2020;
- Exempting all tourism-related industry from tourism levies for three months from April 2020;
- Doubling the Liquidity Support Fund to BD200 million;
- Increasing the Central Bank of Bahrain’s loan facilities to BD3.7 billion to allow debt instalments to be deferred and extra credit to be extended;
- The redirection of all Tamkeen programmes (a semi-autonomous government agency that provides loans and assistance to businesses) to support adversely affected companies, as well as the restructuring of all debts issued by Tamkeen;
The ministers emphasised the commitment of the Kingdom’s leadership to supporting unprecedented circumstances with an unprecedented policy response, and to doing all within their power to protect the health, safety and prosperity of all those within the Kingdom, said the report.