Demands for the Government: Start with the Wealthy, Fight Corruption

2020-05-14 - 7:48 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahrainis have been worried since Saudi Arabia suspended the cost of living allowance and raised the value added tax from 5% to 15%, as they have not yet recovered from the impact of the 5% which already exhausted their low salaries.

Everyone is aware of the Coronavirus pandemic impacts on the global and Gulf economy, but solutions cannot come every time at the expense of low-income citizens. The pockets of the less fortunate cannot always be the solution for funding the state's finances.

In a statement, banker Khaled Janahi said on Monday (May 11, 2020) that "if taxes have to be imposed, they should be on wealth, capital gains and empty lands, not on all people, rich and poor, or those with luxurious lives and the needy. Equality in imposing taxes is not unfair at all because incomes are unequal."

He said that among the expected series of taxes in the Gulf after the VAT are: tax on corporates, tax on salaries (income), and tax on wealth. However, he finds the latter is the best and the fairest. Janahi has called for imposing taxes on wealth about 9 years ago, and noted that had it been "applied at that time, the situation would have been better for everyone now. It is the most equitable tax among all of them because it takes into account the living conditions and the disparity between segments of society."

For his part, opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif said that "before taxes are enacted on the poor, there must be a significant reduction in the salaries of senior state officials, ministers and MPs."

He also called for imposing taxes on large lands and real estates, progressive corporate taxation and taxes on high incomes, and wealth.

Regarding the fiscal policy approach towards imposing taxes such as the VAT, Sharif believes that "when decision makers are highly wealthy and have high-incomes, they tend to impose VAT."

He said that the correction of the financial situation "starts from above", and called for fighting corruption.

The authorities do not approach people who enjoy immunity and who have accumulated massive wealth in world banks through plundering and stealing public money for decades, as most of them are protected by official or symbolic immunities. No one tells them about the state's terrible situation for which they should sacrifice even a little bit. These people's wealth is always untouched. The easiest way for the government is to always impose new taxes on citizens.

The less fortunate Bahraini citizen did not have a share of what the officials had stolen from the state's funds when its finances were prosperous, and had no share of what they had taken from its territory and seas, nor what they had gained from its oil when the price of a barrel was more than $100, so why do citizens now have to pay alone the hefty price of the state's mistakes? 

Arabic Version