Dr Hassan Fakhro (Image: Courtesy BNA)
Bahrain sees record new investment plans
Manama, January 9, 2014
The Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) approved a record number of 30 new investment projects last year, taking to 105 the number of firms now planning to establish operations at the BIIP, a top official said.
Eighty per cent of the approved projects during the year are in manufacturing and the rest are in internationally traded services, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
These projects have an associated commitment to invest BD689 million ($1.8 billion) and to employ over 10,000 people at full production.
As of the end of last year, 53 projects, amounting to a total investment of $694 million, were operational, 12 totalling $345 million were under construction, eight project leases amounting to $119 million had been signed and 32 projects totalling $668 million were at pre-lease stage.
By December last year, employment at the BIIP had surpassed 3,000 people.
Stressing the importance of identifying and encouraging new global companies to establish operations at BIIP, Dr Fakhro said the role of major Bahraini family companies by harnessing goodwill and contact base was crucial to the achievement of the goal.
According to the minister, delays in delivering goods to Saudi Arabia-based customers through the King Fahad Causeway remained a key challenge for most companies at the BIIP.
"While there have been some improvements recently, it is still a concern and more work must be done to completely remove this barrier."
"Easy access to regional markets is a key benefit that Bahrain offers to global companies which must never be eroded," he added.
Dr Fakhro also said the first office building which now accommodated a range of international services companies was due to be completely allocated by the end of the first quarter.
"It is important that we start construction on the second office building this year so we can continue attracting global companies," he said.
"In order to cater for the expansion needs of existing companies and the attraction of new companies to Bahrain, it is important that a further 1.5m sqm of serviced industrial land be made available immediately. This is vital to continuation of progress," he added.
Government data shows that only 17 per cent of existing land at the BIIP remains unallocated at the end of last year. – TradeArabia News Service