2022 Gov't Accounts Closed: Public Funds Stolen

2023-03-02 - 3:10 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It is difficult to know whether it is true that Bahrain recorded a deficit in the 2022 budget? How can the figures provided by the Government to the public be verified? Does anyone trust the statements of the Minister of Finance in the first place?

Following the last weekly council of ministers meeting, the government said it had registered a budget deficit last year, despite the massive increase in oil prices.

The state budget records a deficit when expenditures exceed revenues. Was the balance of the Government of Bahrain actually negative? 

To verify this information, we have to know the data provided by the government in the state budget. The estimated expenditures in the budget were 3 billion and 569 million dinars, while revenues were about 2 billion and 457 million dinars.

Based on this data, the budget approved a deficit (negative balance) of about one billion and 112 million dinars, which the government must cover through debt. (Numbers rounded)

These were estimates when the government was making its financial estimates more than two years ago, but all of this changed in the country's final accounts prepared at the end of the fiscal year. What has changed? 

The government says in its latest statement that state revenues have increased supported by higher oil prices while keeping expenditures within their prescribed limits, which contributed to the reduction of the budget deficit, but the devil is always in the details. 

The government confirms that expenditures remain at their limits, but oil revenues increased by 58%, which led to reducing the deficit to 178 million dinars, a decrease of 85%, but the Ministry of Finance presents false statements to the public opinion, as evidenced by the following observations. 

First: In addition to the fact that the amount is inaccurate, the Ministry of Finance announced on August 18, 2022 that the government recorded savings of 33 million dinars in the first half of the year, so how did the balance turn negative by the end of the fiscal year in light of the stability of oil prices at the same rates?

Second: The budget approved the price of an oil barrel at only $50, but the average price of Bahraini crude reached $100 per barrel by the end of 2022, meaning that the increase in oil revenues may reach 100% and not 58% as the government claims.

Third: If we adopt the available figures, Bahrain recorded, at the very least, financial savings of 440 million Bahraini dinars, supported by the doubling of the price of a barrel of oil.

Fourth: If we add Alba's profits, which were estimated at 420 million dinars, the financial savings will rise to 860 million dinars. 

Fifth: Non-oil revenues increased by 15%, which added 85 million dinars to revenues to reach 945 million dinars.

Sixth: The increase in the value-added tax to 10% doubled the revenues of the National Bureau for Revenue to reach 720 million dinars out of 360 million dinars, an increase of 360 million dinars.

Seventh: According to these figures, the general budget is supposed to have recorded savings of at least one billion and 300 million, not counting the revenues of pipelines with Saudi Arabia and the profits of companies affiliated with Mumtalakat. 

Eighth: If it is assumed that all these figures are incorrect and that the budget recorded a deficit of 187 million dinars as the government says, why did the government borrow more than 500 million dinars and what did it do with more than 300 million dinars?

The data provided by the government is completely unreliable, as the Minister of Finance is responsible for implementing the policies of the ruling family that monopolize wealth in the country, and he strives day and night to mislead public opinion and cover up the embezzlement of the billionaire family. 

Amid the absence of an effective independent regulatory body, all estimates of theft of public funds will remain much lower than they actually are, as the family takes over everything in the country, even cemeteries and endowments. 

Arabic Version