Bahrain to lift restrictions on new ventures
Manama, May 21, 2014
Restrictions on forming companies in Bahrain could be waived as the government seeks more foreign investment.
Parliament yesterday voted in favour of amendments to the law presented by Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro and referred it to the Shura Council as an urgent issue, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
They give minimum shareholders a say in the company's board and the minister concerned can determine if the company is being run properly.
Dr Fakhro told MPs that developments in global economies meant Bahrain had to remove restrictions on the formation of companies.
"Bahrain has always been a leader in investment and we are seeking more, but with unrealistic restrictions we get pushed back, so we came with urgent amendments to attract more capital into our market," he said.
"We want companies opening here to operate with ease and the amendments we presented are modern and take all international legislation into account.
"With regard to MPs' worries that it could also encourage financial crime, there is an anti-money laundering law that deals with all criminal activities in that field."
Parliament also approved a new law that compensates people whose vehicles are damaged or whose relatives are killed by anonymous, unregistered or uninsured vehicles.
A fund would be established with insurance companies paying one per cent of each vehicle premium.
Central Bank of Bahrain Governor Rasheed Al Maraj said it would raise BD500,000 ($1.3 million) in the first year, but the Shura Council must now vote on the plan.
MPs have voted in favour of setting up a fishermen's financial support fund, which will see registered fishermen get a monthly BD200 allowance - increasing to BD300 when fishing bans are in place.
They will also get a BD200 monthly pension when they retire, besides financial support during emergencies and disasters.
Funding will come from the government, as well as 1pc from revenues of sand dredging companies, donations and the fund's investments.
The idea will now be studied by the Shura Council.
Other amendments approved by parliament and referred to the Shura Council are:
* Those who threaten others into committing a crime should face a year in jail and a BD100 fine
* Those who plant hoax bombs should be jailed for up to three years and fined up to BD5,000
* Employers should be able to terminate contracts of employees if their businesses face difficulty, on the condition they inform the Labour Ministry. - TradeArabia News Service