As a measure to counter the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the government of Bahrain last night announced a BD 4.3bn economic stimulus package to support the country’s citizens and private sector.
At a press conference in the country’s capital, Manama, a number of government ministers set out an unprecedented package of policy measures to directly support citizens, residents and businesses in the Kingdom. The BHD 4.3bn stimulus package is equivalent to 29.6% of Bahrain’s annual GDP.
Under the leadership of HM the King and under the direction of HRH the Crown Prince, the ministers announced an eight-point economic package that commits the government to:
- Referring 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), whilst 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 BHD 200 million
- Increasing the Central Bank of Bahrain’s loan facilities to BHD 3.7bn to allow debt instalments to be deferred and extra credit to be extended
- The redirection of all Tamkeen programmes (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 government 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.