BCCI to aid Bahrain’s SMEs
Manama, April 16, 2011
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are set to benefit from a BD300,000 ($795,7000) aid package by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
The money, set aside by the BCCI board, will be distributed soon to SMEs affected by the recent unrest in the country, said board member and contractors committee chairman Samir Nass.
"A process to identify those SMEs that will benefit from the help has already started," he said.
"There will be a lot of things that the board will look into before deciding on how many would benefit. The amount each of them will be given will not be huge, but it is a gesture from the BCCI which is determined to show it is serious about helping their fellow members."
ass said of the nearly 5,000 members registered with the BCCI, around 80 per cent are SMEs. However, not all of them could be beneficiaries, he added.
The identification process will look at all sectors represented and those that have been affected the most. "There are many that have been affected due to the present crisis, but there could be others whose woes have nothing to do with it," said Nass.
"Only after this process is completed, which will be soon, will the money be handed over."
Nass said though the hotel and retail sectors had been the worst affected, other sectors had also reported major losses.
"The board is looking at representations from various sectors and take some action," he said.
Our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News had earlier reported that the hospitality and tourism sector in Bahrain had lost more than $500 million in the last six weeks as a result of the unrest.
The retail trade had also suffered considerably with the sector losing around 80 per cent of its business, according to BCCI retail and traditional markets' committee head Jawad Al Hawaj.
BCCI board member and gold and pearl jewellery committee head Mohammed Sajid Shaikh said the gold trade alone had lost a million dollars a day in the one week that businesses remained shut starting March 13.
Traders had also reported they were suffering as a result of loss of business, but had to pay rents nevertheless.
Though they have welcomed the suspension of Labour Market Regulatory Authority fees, they say the government should consider scrapping or suspending other levies as well until the economy rebounded. – TradeArabia News Service