Bahrain: Scorn for inflation package

To alleviate the effects of inflation in Bahrain, the government has introduced a BD40 million (USD105 million) aid package – and Bahrain‘s bloggers are unanimous in questioning how effective it will be.

Ammaro tries to make sense of the plan:

Inflation has hit Bahrain hard; the price of basic goods has increased dramatically, and the people on the lower end of the earning scale (ie, most Bahrainis) are feeling the pressure. Give it up to our government to get up and do something about it; BD40 million has been assigned to help combat the inflation issue (approx USD105m), and the decision to decide what to do with it has been given to our parliament.

The 40 million hasn't been used to help subsidize some of the basic goods that are being sold, nor work it out with the companies that provide these products. Nope, it has been given out to people in cash. You're not curing inflation here, you're watering it and helping it to grow. Each family is to get BD50 (approx USD130), every month for a year, to help them fight inflation. Any family earning a total of less than 1,500 is eligible. That means that if you're earning BD250 and have 4 kids (and feeling the pinch of inflation a little too much), you're getting the same as the childless couple earning BD1,500 (who are relatively shielded from it). […] The scariest thing about this issue, is that 33,000 families have been chosen to receive this aid. That's 33,000 families, getting 50 dinars, for a total of 12 months. Now, pull out your calculators for a second:
33,000 x 50 x 12 = Almost 20 million dinars.
Budget assigned, 40 million.
Where's the rest of this money going?

Concerned ‘Citizen X’ is cynical:

Do the MPs believe this aid is going to resolve the crisis, curb it in any way, or dampen the effect on our pockets?
Prices will continue to rise, good will continue to get even more expensive, and the freaking cost of living will be more unbearable. Yet Dumb Ass proposals are being made by our “highly educated” MPs, who are convinced this quick fix is exactly what the doctor ordered. […] I suspect a lot of the price increases are due to GREEEEEEEEDD, not increasing supplier costs or transportation expenses…. All the MPS are recommending is a fix that is short term, I guess maybe up to the end of their Term in office……!!!!!!!

Gardens of Sand has some questions:

I quickly grew wary (I guess it’s the economist in me, or the libertarian thought that dominates the economic department of my college), how does the Bahraini government know who is eligible and who isn’t? Does the government keep tabs on its citizens’ earnings? The answer may not be as puzzling really, it can determine what an individual makes based on the amount that gets deducted for retirement etc. But what about the self-employed, most of whom do not make a bunch of money. The women that drive children to schools and such, it would be ridiculous to assume that they are putting any funds into retirement. How is their eligibility determined? With the different questions popping in my mind, a final one leaves me worried, however flawed the means of determining eligibility, the government has a plan in place to do that, right? Or does it just pick names from a hat, or a favorable list???

Coolred38 is asking much the same – for personal reasons:

Lately there has been the news that the govt will be giving needy families BD50 a month to help with the rising cost of living. I seen the list of names recently in the Arabic press…and here is my question. Just how does the government determine who is needy and deserves that BD50? I ask this question for purely personal reasons actually….and the reason I ask is because while going down the list of names I came across my ex husband's name. Now, from what I understand this money is meant for families that are in need. Considering my ex no longer has his family with him…and is only giving his 5 children the court ordered BD150 a month and claims he cant afford more than that…which I also know is not true…I wonder exactly what he had to do to apply for the BD50 under the label of family man?

Silly Bahraini Girl is astounded that recipients’ names were printed in the newspapers:

FORTY pages of newsprint!
Four Zero.

That is what three newspapers dedicated in Bahrain for announcing the names of the beneficiaries of a BD50 hand out from the government to help them cope with the increasing costs of living in Bahrain. Forty pages, line by line, name by name. 30,000 names.

I am speechless. The cat has eaten my tongue. Had it been BD200, what would we have done? Written a book in honour of the beneficiaries or built a pyramid and carved their names on it?

And Khalid has some suggestions as to what could be done instead:

إلى أن يحين الوقت لحل معضلة الاربعين مليون نقدم مجرد 40 مقترح لعل وعسي إن يجد احده صدا .. أو آذان صاغية ..!!!
– يتم توزيعها على النواب الكرام لكل نائب مليون دينار .. وعلى النائب أن يقوم بتوزيعها في دائرته بما يمليه عليه ضميره …!!!
– إن توزع الأربعون مليون عن طريق اليانصيب ..!!
– تنشأ مدينة خاصة للمتقاعدين المحتاجين على إن تكون بقرب المقابر ..!!
– إن تطبع ملصقات برتقالية توضع على جبين كل محتاج و معوز ..ويكتب عليها صنع في البحرين ..!!
– معاهد لدعم التراث البحريني الشعبي لنشر قصة وملحمة ونشيد ” ماذا فعل الأربعين نائب ..بحق المواطن للرفاهية راغب .. والذي يعيش في بلد العجائب ” ..!!!
– جلب أطباء وخبراء في علم التنويم المغناطيسي لمنح كل مواطن جرعات مركزة من الثراء والرفاهية النفسية بدل الواقع المستحيل …!!!
– شراء بخور من الهند أو السند وإحراقه في الأزقة و الشوارع لكي يضمن توزيعها ووصول أبخرتها لأنوف جميع المواطنين …!

Until the time comes for the BD40 million crisis to be resolved, I present 40 suggestions, which I hope will not fall on deaf ears.
– Giving each MP BD1m and have every member distribute it among his constituents in the manner his conscience dictates!!
– Disbursing the BD40m in a lottery!!
– Developing a special town for the needy retired people, provided it was constructed next to the cemetery!!
– Printing orange stickers which would be stuck on the foreheads of all the needy people .. with the message Made in Bahrain written on them!!
– Setting up institutes to promote Bahraini folkloric culture to spread the story, saga and song of “What did the 40 MPs do for the prosperity of Bahrainis .. who are living in Wonderland!!”
– Bringing in doctors and experts in hypnotism to provide Bahrainis with concentrated doses of psychologically induced feelings of luxury and prosperity to replace their impossible reality!!
– Purchasing incense from India and Sindh and burning it on all the streets and alleys to ensure their fair distribution and that the odour reaches every citizen's nose!!

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