BIC set to make profit says minister
Manama, April 26, 2011
Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) is set to make profits as it looks for investments into its assets and property, Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa has said.
He said that the BIC already had plans for its now empty BD84 million, 1.174 million sqm land adjacent to the circuit, which will be either leased or rented for investment projects.
'The BIC is a major contributor to the country's economy whether directly or indirectly, especially with the F1, and now we are looking to have it further contribute with more investment initiatives,' said Shaikh Ahmed.
'The government has already leased the circuit's land to the BIC for 90 years with a revision to the contract every five years.
'It has a lot of ambitious short and long-term projects that will benefit the country within those facilities.
'There are plans to utilise the BIC's assets and property especially the huge empty land it owns and this will be done soon through proper studies.'
Shaikh Ahmed said that its losses had sharply dropped from three years ago, which showed the significant improvement in the way it was being managed.
'In 2008 we had BD25.1 million losses, in 2009 it was BD10.6 million, last year it was BD8.6 million and this year we expect it to be BD7.1 million,' he said.
'The government will continue backing the BIC financially until 2016 to help it make up for operation costs that it has accumulated since its opening.
'However, things now are much better with the BIC's cost saving schemes and plans, which involve revision of all activities and events.
'We cancelled last year the V8 Race being held in Bahrain after finding it to be a financial burden and revision is always there to ensure that the BIC increases its revenues and income.'
Shaikh Ahmed was responding to two questions by councillor Dr Abdulaziz Abul on the BIC's investment plans and ways to make up for losses.
Meanwhile, the minister said that Bahrain's ministries, government bodies and companies were following strict financial procedures to ensure less squandering of money or losses.
'Each government body already appoints internal auditors individually to check on its books even before the official auditing and that's due to keenness on protecting the public money from any loss or squandering.'
Meanwhile, councillor Hala Fayez said that the government was committing violations transferring money from one budget to another, when it shouldn't.
'Every year is different from the previous with funding allocated to particular projects and schemes, but having budgets of unfinished business move to the next year is a violation,' she said.
'In 2009, the government moved BD10.276 million from 2008's budget and another was moved to 2008 from 2007, which was around BD2 million.
'There is an ongoing problem in moving undone projects' funding for something else and this has to be dealt with.'-TradeArabia News Service