Bahrain mulls shopping complex for the needy
Manama, May 28, 2011
People with special needs could soon open their own businesses in a dedicated shopping complex in the Central Governorate in Bahrain, said a government official.
The move aims to help them support their families as well as integrate them into the country's economic development, added Central municipal councilor Ghazi Al Hamer, adding that plans were earlier announced to allocate land in the heart of Bahrain for people with special needs to start their own businesses.
The Central Municipal Council is now studying the possibility of building a shopping complex that accommodates all of the special needs' businesses.
Al Hamer told councillors during their bi-weekly meeting that the proposal could be carried out as a shopping complex to be built by investors.
"Instead of giving land to host special needs' businesses, we can build a shopping complex earmarked only to support their trade," he said. "Investors can be brought in to build the project and provide symbolic rents to traders with special needs."
Councillor Ahmed Al Sabagh backed the proposal, saying that its purpose to allow the disabled to become breadwinners was a noble goal.
"We need more projects like this to support the needy in our governorate," he said. "This is what will be left for us to feel proud of when we leave the council at the end of our term."
Council chairman Abdulrazzaq Al Hattab also welcomed the proposal, but stressed clear guidelines should be in place on who should qualify.
He said that details of the project should also be outlined before being presented to Municipal and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi.
"The proposal should be complete with details and specifications of who qualifies as special needs and can benefit from the project," he said. "Then we can raise it to Dr Al Ka'abi for approval."
The council members unanimously voted in favour of the project, with a one-month period to outline details before the proposal is presented to the ministry.
Al Hattab had earlier warned that a proposal to allow people with special needs open shops in their own homes in 2004 was rejected because of fears that the scheme could be open to abuse.
The ministry had vetoed the plan, fearing that illegal shops would spring up in the homes of people who did not qualify - making the scheme difficult for municipal inspectors to monitor. – TradeArabia News Service