Bahrain announces $30 billion post-pandemic investment plan

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Associated Press)-On Wednesday, the island nation of Bahrain announced plans to invest more than US$30 billion in the next few years to stimulate investment and construction of infrastructure, and pledged to build five new cities on man-made islands.

According to data from the International Monetary Fund, the project marks the government’s efforts to promote growth after the economic pain caused by the pandemic. Although its fiscal situation remains unstable, the country’s public debt increased by 133% of its GDP last year. .

The statement did not elaborate on how the country will fund this large-scale project involving 22 projects, including artificial islands that will expand the kingdom’s land area by more than 60%, a new causeway to Saudi Arabia to stimulate regional trade, and 100- The kilometer (62 miles) subway system connects all cities across the country.

Finance Minister Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa said: “Bahrain is escaping the epidemic with ambitious ambitions, surpassing economic recovery, and looking forward to a more prosperous future.”

Bahrain, like its neighbors, is pushing the so-called “Vision 2030” to achieve economic diversification, although oil continues to provide an estimated 75% of government revenue.

Oil-producing countries took on more debt to deal with the economic shock of the pandemic, which pushed oil prices to historical lows.

Last month, Bahrain stated that it would postpone its zero deficit target to 2024 and announced other measures to control debt levels, reduce spending and increase sales tax from 5% to 10%. The richer Gulf Arab countries provided the country with US$10 billion in bailouts in 2018, expressing support for their budget plans.

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