The price of petrol… and beans

Both, it seems are about to rise. And rise appreciably. The government – bless their souls – have had enough pumping good money into various subsidies which – they finally realised – benefits both the haves and the have-nots.

In fact, they just benefit the haves and even finance various businesses too via the subsidised goods, the price of shawarma for instance remains “reasonable” due to the ready availability of subsidized meats, bread and vegetables too.

So, the test balloons have been released over the last couple of weeks via “judicious” press leaks – well, if you consider four-pound hammers cracking a walnut judicious, that is – and now over the last couple of days, they just came out and said it: the subsidies will be of the past very soon. The government no longer has the luxury of dedicating some BD200 million a year to do just that. The first commodity to be hit will be the Mumtaz fuel it seems. Then it will roll down on to other commodities.

The premise the government is throwing at us is that they will ensure that those in need will be taken care of and subsidies will be routed appropriately. They’re a bit sketchy on this little detail of course, but I’m sure the CIO will once again pull that proverbial rabbit out of their hat. Or, maybe, they’ll put the “smart card” to use. Coupled with the deep data mining they are capable of, they wouldn’t be too taxed in finding those who are actually in need.

Some skeptics are not convinced of the motives and are less so about the implementation. I can’t say that I don’t agree for the details are anything but crystal. I would be very happy if this newly elected parliament with its greater number of “independents” a lot of whom are businessmen would look at the budget and plans acutely. They need to, and they need to hold the government to account and press it for full transparency – especially the black hole which is the CIO – to ensure that funds are put where they belong, and routed to those who deserve them.

The ballpark is now set for the next four years of parliament I think… it will be a more vociferous fight about money, which is distasteful if not coupled with real demands for full governmental disclosure and transparency.

Let the games begin, I say. It should be fun.

  • Johnster
    22 November 2010

    Not got the money? Erm, I wonder where it has all gone? Billions over the years plus the new oil fields.

  • Vane
    22 November 2010

    Reduction of government support, plus lack of transparency in new allocation of funds seems like the direction in which things will turn out to be mmmm

  • exclamation mark
    23 November 2010

    Wouldn’t this seem interesting?

    USD 70 million, And for what???

    • mahmood
      23 November 2010

      To DEFEND ourselves against Aye-RAN! Shame on you for putting that in doubt!!

      • exclamation mark
        24 November 2010

        Reminded me of the Arabic word “Al Bu3 Bu3” 😀

        Wonder whether those weapons would defend the Govt. from criticism of the people.

  • Wayne Job
    25 November 2010

    I am glad that your gumption has returned, stay safe, apparently as Ali found out your government tends to not like critisism. I just this evening looked at your country on google and found it to be smaller in area than the city I live in.

    • mahmood
      26 November 2010

      Many thanks Wayne. What’s happening to Ali and others is a disgrace. We shall continue to call for his release or at least a fair trial to all of those incarcerated.

  • Ajax
    27 November 2010

    cut the petrol subsides support for

    companies + foreigners

    that would easily save them over 100mil

    what i really fear , that those money end up in someone is swiss bank account instead 🙁

  • exclamation mark
    28 November 2010


    You just do the math based what is mentioned in the below resources, if the price of oil is USD 80 (an assumption but the actual price might be more) :

    مليون برميل إنتاج البحرين النفطي في الربع الأول (أي أو ثلاث شهور)

    هيئة النفط والغاز: 49,445 مليون برميل إنتاج البحرين من النفط في 9 أشهر

    67.26 مليون برميل إنتاج البحـرين النفـطـي بزيـادة 354 ألـفـاً

    إحصائيات حول إنتاج البحرين النفطي:

    توقع نمو إنتاج البحرين من النفط إلى 75 ألف برميل في 5 سنوات

    • mahmood
      29 November 2010

      I agree. The government’s spending plans just do not make sense.

  • chanad
    30 November 2010

    Shawarma is a bad example Mahmood. Shawarma should be subisidised for eternity. There should be a law against removing subsidies from shawarma-related items

    • mahmood
      30 November 2010

      I’m sure our friend Mark will completely sympathise with your sentiments Fahad!

      I, however, am on a no-bread and no-dairy diet (yes, latest fad) so I’ll support the removal of subsidy on this particular delicacy for the good of the nation.

Bahrain Strategy FAIL. Yet again.