Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Isn't it time for the ruling family to give up some of its privileges? Why does the Al Khalifa family live a similar luxurious life to those of the ruling families in the Gulf when the country's wealth and resources do not allow Bahraini citizens to live like the rich people in the Gulf?
The government's mouthpieces always tell Bahraini citizens to accept the idea that Bahrain does not possess the wealth that neighboring countries have, and therefore they must accept low wages and harsh financial measures imposed on them by the government.
Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that Bahrain does not possess the wealth that would allow its people to enjoy the luxury of a Qatari citizen, for instance. Then why is the ruling family not convinced that it also cannot enjoy the privileges of the ruling family in Qatar and the extravagance that its members live in?
All government measures came at the expense of the already poverty-stricken citizens, as the value-added tax was doubled, annual increases and retiree bonuses were suspended, and fees on government services were increased.
Nevertheless, members of the ruling family still enjoy the same share of the national wealth, in addition to the acquisition of raw and submerged lands along the Bahraini coast!
The ruling family has kept its share of oil, as the revenues from refined oil are not included in the state's general budget, and the government has refused to disclose Bapco's revenues from oil refining through the Saudi-Bahrain line.
The capacity of the pipelines between the two countries is estimated at about 360,000 barrels per day, and there are no official estimates about the revenues that Bapco derives from this project, noting that the price of a barrel of refined oil is higher than that of crude oil.
These revenues are part of the national wealth and must be included in the state's general budget and channeled to the public's benefit, and toward the improvement of Bahraini citizens' wages and government services, especially in the areas of health, housing and education.
Why does the ruling family allow itself to monopolize these revenues? And why does the Chairman of the Oil and Gas Holding Company, Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, insist that he live like Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, if his family does not guarantee the well-being of citizens, as Al Maktoum does?
This concerns the oil sector. As for lands and real estate, the geographical area of Bahrain does not afford allowing the Al Khalifa family to own vast areas. It is better to make them available, or at least part of them, for housing projects.
It is not difficult to nationalize the raw lands that were owned by former Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman, and allocate them to development projects that benefit citizens. The king and his sons can also relinquish the areas they acquired in the Kingdom's south for the same purpose.
This applies to submerged lands, where the king and his crown prince own tens of kilometers of submerged lands upon which large real estate projects have been built, such as Diyar Al Muharraq, Amwaj and Dilmunia.
The outrageous wealth enjoyed by the ruling family is certainly not commensurate with the wealth that Bahrain possesses. It would have been better if the Al Khalifa family had given up part of its privileges before imposing more financial burdens on underprivileged citizens.