Bahrain issues $11.4bn stimulus to counter COVID-19 economic impact

Package refers a draft law to pay private sector salaries, and pay utility bills for individuals, businesses for three months

Bahrain issues $11.4bn stimulus to counter COVID-19 economic impact
Bahrain issues $11.4bn stimulus to counter COVID-19 economic impact

The government of Bahrain has announced an $11.4bn (BHD4.3bn) stimulus package to support the country’s citizens and private sector and counter the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

Bahrain ministers issued the unprecedented policy to directly support citizens, residents, and businesses in the kingdom during a press conference in the capital city of Manama.

The $11.4bn (BHD4.3bn) stimulus package is equivalent to 29.6% of Bahrain’s annual GDP, and covers an eight-point strategic commitment by the government.

Bahrain has referred a draft law concerned with paying the salaries of all private sector employees for three months from April 2020 from the unemployment fund, following constitutional procedures – a move that is in line with the social insurance law.

The package also aims to pay the utility bills issued by the Electricity and Water Authority for individuals and businesses for three months from April 2020, up to the costs incurred during the same period in 2019.

Bahrain will also restructure administrative costs to offset additional costs incurred by the government.

The initiative will exempt all individuals and businesses from municipal fees for three months from April 2020; exempt all businesses from industrial land rental fees for three months from April 2020; and exempt all tourism-related industry from tourism levies for three months from April 2020.

The stimulus package will also double the Liquidity Support Fund to $530m (BHD200m), according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency.

The Central Bank of Bahrain’s loan facilities will be increased to $9.8bn (BHD3.7bn) to allow debt instalments to be deferred and extra credit to be extended

In addition, all programmes by Tamkeen – a semi-autonomous government agency that provides loans and assistance to businesses – will be redirected to support adversely affected companies, as well as toward restructuring all debts issued by entity.

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