New rules threat to home businesses in Bahrain
Manama, March 30, 2014
Hundreds of low-income families across Bahrain could lose their only source of income as a result of new rules governing home businesses.
People can no longer modify their houses for such purposes if they are not on commercially classified streets, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The decision has been taken by Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi to bring more order to residential neighbourhoods.
Families were given municipal permits a few years ago to open shops in their homes, but many were refused renewal after rebuilding their homes.
The issue was highlighted by the Muharraq Municipal Council, which has called for the decision to be scrapped and a return to the old system.
It is also planning to investigate claims some businessmen were allowed to reopen shops after knocking down their old homes.
Any violations will be reported to the Public Prosecution.
"I can't understand why the ministry has come up with this new decision that has caused harm to needy families, who depend on shops in their homes to make ends meet," said council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed.
"Those shops have existed in their homes for years and there have been no complaints from residents about parking or noise.
"So when families managed to get their homes knocked down and rebuilt, they wanted the same shops that are still with valid commercial registrations (CRs) reopened, but the ministry's computer system now rejects that on the basis that a road is not commercially-classified."
Council vice-chairman Ali Al Muqla said many families had opted to stay in dangerous dilapidated homes because they fear they could lose their permit if they rebuilt them.
"The exemption system has to return if we are to protect those families and ensure that their source of income continues," he added. - TradeArabia News Service