Bahrain mulls fees on sand dredging
Manama, May 13, 2013
Bahrain’s Cabinet has accepted a memorandum to impose for the first time on the dredging of sand from the seabed in a move to preserve and combat exploitation of natural resources.
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi yesterday submitted a list of proposed fees to the Cabinet, which has been referred to a ministerial committee for further study.
"At the moment, the government is not benefiting from dredging as sand is being taken for free," said Minister of State for Information Affairs and official government spokeswoman Sameera Rajab during a Press conference after the weekly Cabinet session.
"The Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry's proposal is in line with the national strategy to preserve natural resources and stop exploitation."
The proposed fees compliment a new law that would regulate the dredging of sand from the seabed, which is currently being debated by the Shura Council.
Under the law, a committee representing all government bodies will be formed to oversee dredging.
The new draft law regulating sand dredging was originally proposed by parliament and has received government support.
The Shura Council backed the law in principle in February, but complained the damage had already been done after years of unregulated offshore dredging.
Some called for dredging companies to be forced to make backdated payments, claiming they had been helping themselves to national resources at the country's expense.
Firms were previously required to obtain a licence to carry out dredging, but there were no limits on how much sand they could scoop up. – TradeArabia News Service