Bahrain’s budget deficit shrank to 4.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 from 6.3% a year earlier, the ministry of finance said on Monday citing preliminary fiscal results. The small Gulf state aims to deliver a balanced budget by 2022 as part of a program of fiscal reforms linked to a $10 billion financial aid package received in 2018 from its Gulf allies. Reforms so far included a spending review, a voluntary retirement scheme for public sector workers and the introduction of a value added tax. Bahrain saw its primary budget deficit – which excludes interest payments – decrease 85% year-on-year in 2019, it said on Monday. It expects the economy to grow 2.7% this year, from an estimated 2.1% in 2019. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait gave Bahrain $10 billion in 2018 after low oil prices pushed its public debt to almost 93% of gross domestic product.
Read the full article on Nasdaq, February 10, 2020