Bahrain’s public debt rose by an annual rate of 11.7 per cent in September, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) announced yesterday.
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According to the CBB’s official data, the country’s public debt reached 11.74 billion Bahraini dinars ($31.34 billion) last month, compared to 10.51 billion Bahraini dinars ($28 billion) during the same month in 2017.
The country’s debt, CBB pointed out, rose by 1.6 per cent on a monthly basis last month, adding that it reached 11.551 billion Bahraini dinars ($30.8 billion) in August.
The bank explained that total amount of the public debt had stemmed from a 9.07 billion dinars ($24.2 billion) worth of government bonds and treasury bills and 2.66 billion dinars ($ 7.1 billion) of Islamic Sukuk certificates.
The kingdom’s economy has been hit hard by a drop in oil prices in recent years, with its dinar sliding to its lowest in more than a decade. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have offered a $10 billion aid package to avoid Bahrain’s risk of a debt crisis, which was also tied to fiscal reforms.
On 5 October, the government released a fiscal plan to fix its debt-burdened finances and essentially abolish its budget deficit by 2022. The plan, which promises further cuts in public spending, comes at a sensitive time as the kingdom prepares to hold an election next month, the second ballot since 2011 when protesters took to the streets demanding democratic change.