Bahrain commits $500K to reconciliation programs
Bahrain has committed an additional $500,000 to fund reconciliation programs run by nongovernmental organisations, it was reported on Tuesday.
The new funds are part of a series of programs set-up by the Social Development Ministry and designed to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
Bahrain, a US ally and home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by Shi'ites erupted early last year after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
Foreign ministers from six Gulf Arab oil exporting countries announced the fund's creation in March 2011, in order to help Bahrain and Oman combat social unrest spreading across the Middle East.
The two countries were each supposed to be given a grant of US$10bn, spread over10 years, for development and social projects. The fund will be sponsored by the wealthier Gulf Cooperation Council members: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.
Bahrain also said in the bond prospectus that its government budget deficit shrank to US$83m in 2011, the lowest shortfall in three years and well below a projected budget gap of US$3.3bn, because oil prices were higher than expected.
Budget expenditure rose to US$7.6bn in 2011, the highest level since at least 2008, while revenue jumped to US$7.5bn, the prospectus showed.