Bahrain is set to join Saudi Arabia and the UAE in implementing VAT from 1 January. Having delayed implementation by one year, Bahrain will become the third of the six GCC states to implement the Unified GCC Agreement for Value Added Tax (VAT) at a rate of 5%. Oman says September 2019 is a possibility for implementation, but won’t yet commit.

Meanwhile, Kuwait says it won’t introduce VAT until 2021, while Qatar has been out in the cold since the Saudi-led embargo began in June 2017. Bahrain’s budget projects a $3.5bn deficit this year and needs all the additional revenue it can get. The IMF sees debt this year reaching 98.6% of GDP, the highest in the GCC. (CONTINUED - 115 WORDS)