Bahrain announces new measures to combat inflation

Country to develop urgent plans and procedures to stabilise prices and ensure availability of commodities

A general view shows the Bahraini capital, Manama, on February 10, 2016. - Five years after the popular uprising was harshly repressed, the Kingdom of Bahrain is locked in a political stalemate coupled with an economic crisis that underline the urgency of a compromise between the rulers and the opposition, according to experts. (Photo by MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY TAIEB MAHJOUB
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Bahrain's government announced new measures to help the country tackle growing global inflation, including financial support and the temporary suspension of certain fees.

Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain, directed officials to develop "urgent plans and procedures to stabilise prices and ensure the availability of commodities", the official Bahrain News Agency reported on Monday.

New measures set to be introduced include the suspension of industrial land fees for food storage facilities for three months and the temporary suspension of approvals and fees required by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for supermarkets to run promotional campaigns during that period.

The Ministry of Social Development has also been directed to disburse an additional month of financial support in January for low-income families to account for global inflation.

Officials have also been instructed to increase monitoring and inspection of local market prices, BNA reported.

In October last year, the International Monetary Fund warned of a global cost-of-living crisis as the world economy continues to be affected by the war in Ukraine, broadening inflation pressures and a slowdown in China.

Global inflation, estimated at 8.8 per cent last year, is set to decline to 6.5 per cent this year, the fund said.

It also expects the global economy to grow 2.7 per cent this year, down from 3.2 per cent last year and 6 per cent in 2021.

Inflation in the GCC has been significantly lower than in most advanced and emerging market countries amid improved economic activity, driven by higher oil and gas prices, an August report by Kuwait-based Kamco Invest found.

Gulf countries have varied food import sources that have helped them weather the food supply chain disruption caused by the Ukraine conflict to keep inflation lower, the report said.

Government price caps on essential food items and fuel also insulated GCC households from steep food and fuel price rises, it added.

While inflation rates across 22 Arab countries jumped to an aggregate 14 per cent last year, they are projected to drop to 8 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively this year and next, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (Escwa) said in a report.

Gulf countries will grow at their fastest pace since 2014, expanding 4.6 per cent and 3.3 per cent in 2023 and 2024, respectively, from 6.3 per cent last year, as they benefit from a recovery in oil markets that started in 2021, the UN survey said.

Updated: January 10, 2023, 6:23 AM