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Bahrainis to get anti-inflation allowance

Manama, June 16, 2009

The Social Development Ministry of Bahrain has launched an online portal, which will enable Bahrainis to apply for an anti-inflation allowance worth up to BD50 ($132.60) per month.

Thirty-five centres will open early next month for people whose online applications are rejected due to out-of-date information, it was announced yesterday (June 15).

They will be able to meet staff, who will update the information and reprocess the applications.

People will also be able to challenge rejections through an online grievances service.

The first list of 10,000 Bahrainis eligible for the allowance has already been drawn up from existing records.

But they will have to wait until the end of July for the payment, since all the information is being re-checked, said officials.

Social Development Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi said selection for the second batch would start with those who need it the most.

Under the allowance's criteria, the payout will be given only to Bahrainis whose income, including allowances, is below BD700.

Those receiving a monthly accommodation payout from the Housing Ministry would not be eligible. Beneficiaries must also be living in Bahrain and have an electricity and water bill in their name.

They must not own more than one property in their name, or have a Commercial Registration.

Applications can be posted online from today through the website fsupport.gov.bh, Dr Al Balooshi said.

'People whose applications are not accepted by the computerised system can apply at nine social centres and 26 clubs, starting early next month,” he added.

'Before anyone is included in the scheme, the Egov Authority will have to scrutinise their data, whether it is people who we included in the first batch or the second.

'A hotline has been already launched (80008088) to respond to queries and we have hired temporary employees to handle work until December 2010, when the payouts end.

'People shouldn't worry, because the payments will be backdated to January this year.'

Egov Authority representative Dr Zakriya Ahmed said that work with 13 ministries and government organisations had already begun to determine those eligible for the scheme and those not.

'We will have two lists, one having the names of those eligible and the other who are not, so whenever someone submits an application, we will easily know whether to reject the application or to give it the go-ahead,' he said.

People whose applications are rejected will be able to challenge the decision through a grievances section being launched on the website from July 15.

Central Informatics Organisation representative Najma Janahi said that the system already identified those eligible for the payout.

'But information may change over time and this is why we are planning to give employees access to the system, to change the data if the applicants' conditions have changed and they have become eligible,' she said.

'The system is flexible, to ensure that all those eligible for the allowance receive it.'

Parliament was at loggerheads with the government over its failure earlier to include the allowance in the national budget for this year and next.

This was solved in March by His Majesty King Hamad, who ordered BD100 million to be included in the two-year budget, divided equally over this year and the next.

MPs tried last month to negotiate changing the criteria for eligibility by counting only the basic income, but the government rejected the suggestion.

MPs were forced to accept the government's decision to ensure that those included in the first batch were not affected, as Dr Al Balooshi threatened to suspend the payout until a deal was reached. – TradeArabia News Service


Tags: Manama | Bahrainis | Portal | allowance | Anti-inflation |

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