Bahrain fuel subsidy bill may hit $2.6bn
Manama, December 23, 2012
Bahrain is expected to spend almost BD1 billion ($2.637 billion) a year in oil and gas subsidies by 2014 to keep prices down, a report said.
The projected figure is included in the draft national budget submitted to parliament by the government, MP Latifa Al Gaoud was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
She said it put the cost of subsidising fuel at BD878.3 million next year, while the figure jumps to BD960.6 million in 2014.
However, MPs are now due to review government subsidies on Wednesday - including whether the current system should be changed to favour those most in need of support.
They are also looking at whether the proposed subsidies should be slashed, potentially leading to an increase in prices.
"I would prefer to pump the money we spend on subsidising petrol directly to the people and let them decide what they want to use it for," Al Gaoud said.
She argued the current system of fuel subsidies actually benefited those better off, such as families with more cars who consumed more petrol - and therefore enjoyed greater savings.
"A family with 10 cars will benefit more than a family with only two cars."
Al Gaoud's committee will review the subsidy policies of other countries in the region, where petrol is actually more expensive, before making a decision.
This week's meeting will also address the environmental impact of subsidising fuel, based on the premise that cheaper oil and gas encourages faster consumption. - TradeArabia News Service