Al-Wefaq: New Public Budget Reinforces Failure and Debts, and Further Burdens Citizens
2020-12-02 - 7:03 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society stressed that the draft state budget of 2021/2022, which was presented by the government on Sunday, November 29, 2020, reflects a reinforcement of the policy of failure in running the state and weakness in competence.
The state's public budget lacks an economic plan on multiple sources of income, which confirms the budget's reliance on a single source of income constituting the largest percentage.
Security expenditures account for a third of the budget at the expense of projects, services, development, advancement, and investment expenditures, which reflect the military security state at the expense of health, education, technological development, and knowledge economy, and shows the weakness of the state of institutions and law.
It is noted in the draft budget that the interest of public debt has risen to one and a half billion, which indicates confusion, involvement in the borrowing policy, and an increase in the amount of public debt, which was directly reflected in the public budget, where the interests of public debt account for a large proportion of the budget.
The draft budget included removing electricity subsidies in 2022, which means that the citizen will bear new burdens in light of income stagnation, high prices, and taxes. This means that under the new budget, the economic situation of the citizen will decline.
It was noticed in the draft budget that there was no increase in the salaries of citizens, which has been anticipated for more than 10 years, because the lack of increase in salaries, with the development of life and the high cost of living, cause great difficulty to citizens.
Weakness and a gradual decline in projects budget have been recorded in the current and new budgets, which indicates a decrease in the size of submitted projects, and thus a drop in business activity in Bahrain.
Al-Wefaq noticed continued reliance on collecting taxes from citizens, as tax revenues would reach 700 million dinars in two years, which means transforming it into a de-facto policy that weakens the citizen's purchasing power. Meanwhile, the citizen is not allowed to choose or question the government that collects these taxes, with the absence of the basic rule, "no taxation without representation."
It also highlighted the weakness and decrease in the budget for education, health, services, development, and all the basic necessities of life, pointing out to an increase in the size of the fiscal deficit, reaching about 1.276 billion in 2021, and about 1.145 billion in 2022. This is a result of a failure in the management and distribution of resources and poor efficiency, which leads to more reliance on requesting support, aid, and borrowing.
Al-Wefaq noticed continued lack of transparency in oil and other resources through the absence of part of those resources for the benefit of those in charge of the state project individually. In addition, presenting the public budget numbers as fake numbers without transparency and clarity, since the financial decision has nothing to do with the existing institutions, although they are fake and weak institutions.
The society said that the public budget is still managed with the same old mentality and does not take into account global variables in the policies of developing performance, reducing expenditures, increasing revenues, and improving citizen's income.
It added that a number of files are still burdening the budget, most notably the file of naturalization, the absence of planning, the spread of financial and administrative corruption, and the acquisition of high salaries by foreigners. Moreover, the allocations and offices of the deputy prime ministers still have high budgets.
Massive funds from the public budget are spent on establishing centers, institutions, and bodies to polish Bahrain's image abroad, while Bahrain is living under the conditions of a stifling political crisis that have existed for a decade, as the prisoners of that political reality accumulate in prisons, Al-Wefaq expressed.
The budget lacks allocations related to the support and encouragement of civil society institutions and political parties that are a basic part of the budgets of open countries that march towards democracy, which is what Bahrain lacks.