Editorial: For Decision-Makers in Bahrain, Don't Rush to Empty Pockets of the Poor
2020-05-12 - 11:11 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Coronavirus pandemic and collapse of oil prices have had major effects on Bahrain's finances, but what is not acceptable is that the government compensates for its losses by taking from the citizens' pockets as Saudi Arabia has done.
The Bahraini citizen has never been a partner in scheming the failing income diversification plans that the government has led since the 1970s. He was neither a partner in putting the Economic Development Board's plans at the beginning of the millennium nor 2030 Bahrain vision.
Has the citizen ever been a partner in the great financial corruption and waste? Was he involved in the fiscal policies that led to the accumulation of public debt to 15 billion dinars, surpassing the GDP?
Decades-old thefts and major corruption have been witnessed by major state-owned companies, let alone the grabbing of public lands and coasts for the benefit of the ruling family, until the price of a property with the size of the financial port amounted to only one dinar, according to a 2010 parliamentary report.
It is true that under the current governance structure, it seems impossible to open old books and hold accountable those responsible for such thefts, but it is not wrong for the ruling family to be invited to allocate an amount to fill the budget deficit, even under lending.
It is not wrong to demand that the Government imposes an income tax on large companies and banks as one of the steps to diversify sources of income and help the budget.
It is not even an exaggeration for people to demand a tax on non-residential properties and towers that fill the coasts, before increasing taxes on the poor and raising subsidies on basic goods and services.
It is not a crime to call for freezing the allowances and bonuses of senior officials in government ministries, agencies and companies before resorting to stopping the allowances of minor employees.
Is it wrong to call for the structuring of the labor market, organizing the expatriates issue, dispensing with foreigners in government agencies, resolving the naturalization issue to create jobs for Bahrainis and stopping money remittance?
If the path of financial and economic reform begins with the very wealthy ruling family and large-capitalists, then the poor citizen can understand any further steps taken in order to save the country.
The less fortunate in Bahrain constitute a large portion of the population, and any financial decision affecting their simple living margin means that they will be forced into a living hell, as this may even lead to hunger.