Bahrain gets first installment of $10 bln Gulf package

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Bahrain said on Thursday it has received the first installment of a $10-billion support package from key Gulf allies aimed at balancing its budget by 2022.

The initial payment of $2.292 billion for the year 2018 had been received “in full”, the government said a statement carried by the official BNA news agency.

With 80 percent of its revenues from oil and a large budget deficit, Bahrain announced in October 2018 an economic reform plan backed by the package from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

The plan, Bahrain says, was designed to save 800 million Bahraini dinars ($2.1 billion, 1.84 billion euros) annually as the kingdom looks to curb its debt after years of low oil prices.

“The receipt of the second installment (of $2.276 billion for this year) has already started,” BNA reported.

It added Bahrain would receive installments up until 2023. The reform program includes cutting public expenditure and government waste, voluntary retirements for government workers and “redirecting” state subsidies.

The authorities have said they are also looking to increase “non-oil revenues, to drive economic growth, diversify government income streams and align non-oil revenue with positive economic growth”.

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