Emergency 'may revive business confidence'
Manama, March 16, 2011
The decision to impose a three-month state of emergency in Bahrain could prove a saviour for the country's business and financial community, a leading businessman said.
Mashal Group chief executive director Dr Yousef Mashal said that after a month of chaos the declaration of a state of emergency will give peace of mind to both local and international investors.
'The state of emergency is the best thing that could have happened at this time after a month of chaos has brought the economy to a standstill.
'It will also bring more safety to banks and will be good in restoring the reputation of Bahrain that has been shaken by recent events.
'Hopefully this will put Bahrain back on the map as an oasis of peace and harmony.'
'Businessmen, both locally and internationally will be watching Bahrain with wider eyes in the coming days to see how this decree will be implemented and how it brings back safety to our roads and streets.
'The economy is based on money and investment and for it to work we must have security.'
Prior to the state of emergency yesterday one senior commercial property expert, who asked not to be named, said that unless something was done to deal with the unrest businesses and financial institutions would start leaving Bahrain and heading to Dubai.
'Companies operating across the regional markets are reviewing where they should be and Bahrain is close to losing its credibility.
'Most of the international companies here are in offices with short-term leases and they would have no problems in moving to Dubai to run their regional operations.
'The world is risk averse at the moment and if something does not happen soon Bahrain is going to suffer.'
The board of Dutch asset management firm, Robeco yesterday announced that it would be moving its people out of Bahrain.
Robeco Middle East chief executive officer Douglas Hansen-Luke said he hoped the government in Bahrain could unite its people and bring to an end the disturbances. 'If we can resolve this situation then Bahrain has the prospect of becoming an even more powerful financial hub of the Middle East.'-TradeArabia News Service