$112m municipal fees owed to Bahrain govt
Manama, March 25, 2014
Bahrain's government is owed almost BD43 million ($112.7 million) in outstanding municipal fees dating back to 2010.
Authorities have now come up with a three-year plan to recoup the debts from members of the public and private companies, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The amount of BD42.7 million includes unpaid municipal fees stated in utility bills, unpaid rents on municipal property and unpaid fees for public services - such as the provision of building permits.
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi revealed efforts to collect the money had so far resulted in BD6 million being recouped in municipal rents.
He warned those who refused to pay up could have access to other government services blocked and face legal action.
"We have plans to collect all of our owed money in the upcoming three years and we have so far managed to get BD6 million repaid, but the BD42.7 million still remains," said Dr Al Ka'abi.
"We have a committee assessing all of our lease contracts to see problems or reasons behind people or businesses not paying and we are currently connected with ministries and government bodies, so we are able to stop other dealings of those who fail to comply.
"A legal firm has been hired and all cases of late payment have been referred to it to recommend action.
"Legal action against those who fail to pay late municipal dues have been taken and others are being contacted to reach agreements, wherever possible."
He added that money collected from municipal fees went into a Joint Municipal Fund to be spent on national municipal projects.
"Money collected from building and advertisement permits, besides other municipal services, is under the municipalities' accounts and is spent on services provided in each governorate," he said.
Dr Al Ka'abi will appear in parliament today to share details of the problem with MPs, who are demanding for the money to be collected.
It is not the first time the Bahrain government has faced problems persuading the public to pay their bills.
Minister of State for Electricity and Water Affairs Dr Abdulhussain Mirza told the GDN last June that people owed BD131 million in unpaid utility bills. - TradeArabia News Service