A Bahraini woman walks through a local souq as she looks for clothes for her children in Manama, Bahrain, August 19, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
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Bahrain has scrapped a plan to reform its cumbersome subsidy system, officials said Tuesday, as authorities worry it could trigger more unrest in the Gulf island and complicate government efforts to repair public finances.Bahrain, which does not possess the bountiful oil reserves of other wealthy Gulf neighbors, has had to introduce austerity measures in recent years such as a value added tax and higher prices for water and power consumption.A government spokesperson did not confirm that the subsidy reform plan has been scrapped, but said Bahrain was committed to achieving fiscal balance as promised to its Gulf allies.Bahrain's budget deficit fell to 11.7 percent of gross domestic product last year from 14.2 percent in 2017, partly because of higher oil prices, cuts in utility subsidies and new excise taxes, the International Monetary Fund has estimated.
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