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Wed 11 Mar 2015 01:34 PM

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Bahrain mulls subsidies cuts for expats

Bahrain government needs to offset a projected shortfall in revenues driven in part by the drop in oil prices

Bahrain mulls subsidies cuts for expats
Bahrain Finance Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa. (AFP/Getty Images)

Expats in Bahrain face higher costs under plans to cut government subsidies for foreigners and companies.

The Bahrain government needs to offset a projected shortfall in revenues driven in part by the drop in oil prices. Finance minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa reportedly told the Gulf Daily News on Tuesday that one proposal involved making foreigners and private sector companies pay at least the cost price for government services.

“None of the public’s benefits will go away, but foreigners and companies will have to pay at least the cost price of services as one of the solutions to reduce costs,” Shaikh Ahmed was quoted as saying.

“We have different scenarios for the budget, which uses different oil barrel calculations. There is a general view on what we want, but again it will be left to MPs when we present them with the draft budget.”

MPs are due to vote next week on a Royal Decree issued before parliament was elected in November, which increased the government’s borrowing cap from BD5bn (US$1bn) to BD7bn.

Shaikh Ahmed has previously warned that failure to approve an increase in borrowing could directly affect the public, the newspaper said.

“The cap will stop everything - monthly wages and programmes we have for the people - and we don't want to make the public scapegoats. It is not resolutions we are looking for, we want solutions.”