On March 17, the government of Bahrain announced a BHD 4.3 billion economic stimulus package to help the country’s residents counter the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis, reports the Bahrain News Agency.
The stimulus package is equivalent to 29,6% of Bahrain’s annual GDP.
Among the eight-point package, the ministers present at the press conference where the unprecedented measures were announced said the government would pay individuals’ and businesses’ Electricity and Water Authority utility bills for three months from April 2020 (up to the costs incurred during the same period in 2019), whilst also restructuring government administrative costs to offset additional costs incurred by the government.
Bahrain is currently one of the most water stressed countries in the world. By 2025, up to 30 per cent of the population could face water shortages. This arid country suffers from limited, erratic rainfall. With no rivers, lakes or perennial streams, Bahrain’s main water supply comes from groundwater, treated wastewater and desalination.
In 2012, Bahrain’s per capita water consumption was between 273-318 litres per day.
Other measures announced included: exempting all individuals and businesses from municipal fees for three months from April 2020, exempting all businesses from industrial land rental fees for three months from April 2020, and exempting all tourism-related industry from tourism levies for three months from April 2020.