Sweeping reforms 'will help Bahrain regain top spot'
Dubai, September 11, 2007
The sweeping reforms being implemented by Bahrain will help the kingdom regain its leading position as a business destination in the Gulf, says a top management consulting firm.
The beginning of the change is being heralded by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), which will lead the labour market reform and replace Bahrainisation quotas with a system that aims to increase the competitiveness of Bahrainis in the labour market, says A T Kearney, the global strategic management consulting firm.
The new system seeks to simplify administrative procedures, create a better working environment and control unemployment. In addition to the LMRA, a Labour Fund will invest into the improvement of the workforce to provide highly skilled resources and high value job opportunities, it said.
Important, in the eyes of Robert Ziegler, principal, A T Kearney, Dubai, is also the education and healthcare reform to improve the quality of education in Bahrain in order to provide the right quality of employees and to raise the level of healthcare provided in the kingdom.
“People are valuable assets and have to be treated as such. This is why Bahrain will improve the delivery and quality of healthcare services to all residents in Bahrain,” commented Ziegler.
Bahrain’s Development Bank will need to play a key role in the coming reforms, as it will facilitate access to capital and provide start up support to investors. Company laws will also need to be reformed to facilitate company start-up and foreign direct investment (FDI), he said.
In the centre of the reform plan is the creation of Mumtalakat, a government holding company similar to Temasek in Singapore or Mubadala in Abu Dhabi, to manage and restructure the existing portfolio of government-owned companies, such as Gulf Air, Alba, NBB and Batelco, and to invest into strategic assets for the kingdom around the world.
A T Kearney is supporting Bahrain in the creation of a professionally operated free zone in the new Khalifa Bin Salman port in the Hidd industrial district. This facility will drastically improve the logistical infrastructure in Bahrain, increasing the volume of transshipments via Bahrain and attracting new and innovative industries to the kingdom.
The ongoing collaboration, between the General Organization of Sea Ports (GOP), the private sector in Bahrain and A T Kearney, to plan this Free Economic Zone, will add substantial value to the economy of Bahrain, it said.
“All these reforms will make the kingdom the most attractive business environment in the region, attracting diversified investments from the region and abroad,” concludes Ziegler. – TradeArabia News Service