Bahrain customs officials rapped over clearance delays
Manama, June 25, 2014
Traders have criticised customs officials for massive delays in clearance of goods imported into Bahrain.
They also accused causeway and port customs of "ruining" or "dramatically reducing" the shelf-life of products because officials search the goods without taking proper measures, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
They were speaking yesterday during an open meeting organised by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) for different business sectors to discuss issues related to trade and retail.
"Issues discussed were related to registration and ministries, employment, improving of cost quality of services in different areas, especially when you are talking about the (King Fahad) Causeway and the clearance of the big trucks and containers," said BCCI second vice chairman and trade and retail sector committee chairman Jawad Alhawaj, who headed the meeting.
"What we want is to speed up the work of the authorities which will then benefit the whole of Bahrain's economy.
"At the end of the day, if our economy is healthy and strong it will benefit everyone."
One of the businessmen said customs offices lacked adequate facilities to accommodate large amount of goods coming into the country.
"When I import refrigerated containers and spend money to make sure the goods arrive in good condition, customs will search the containers in the scorching heat - in some cases ruining or dramatically reducing the shelf-life of the product," said the trader, who did not wish to be named.
"I have no problem with them checking the goods but they need to at least plug in the container or do it in a cool place, and if they don't have that ability then they should just check it once it reaches the chilled warehouse."
Meanwhile, some traders also spoke of the need to enforce governmental standards on home-based salons.
"There are a large number of salons being run from homes which is harming our businesses," said a salon owner who attended the meeting.
"Those salons in homes don't get government approval, they don't pay rent, they don't need to deal with all the ministries like the Health Ministry and because of that they can offer very cheap prices that are impossible to compete with.
"I don't want them to be shutdown but they should have to incur some of the same costs that legitimate salons have."
BCCI members noted down all the complaints and suggestions brought up during the meeting and pledged to address them with concerned authorities.
An Interior Ministry official, on behalf of the Customs Affairs, told the GDN yesterday that they will look into the claims. - TradeArabia News Service