Saturday 23 February 2019

Bahrain approval for industrial land in 18 days

MANAMA, June 11, 2018

In a major move, Bahrain government has reduced the timeframe for land applications, in response to the growing demand for industrial land across the kingdom and as part of the government’s ongoing strategic focus on supporting investors in the manufacturing sector.

The initiative, introduced by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, guarantees that complete applications for industrial land will be assessed within a maximum of 18 working days.

Over the past 30 years, the government has invested heavily in establishing industrial zones throughout the country, developing dedicated areas for manufacturing clusters, said the statement from Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).

By 2020, further investment will be supported in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism-led plans to develop infrastructure in industrial zones, it stated.

The ministry currently operates eight industrial zones totalling over 10 million sq m. These zones are a dynamic base for hundreds of companies sustaining over 46,000 jobs and are key in developing and strengthening the manufacturing sector of Bahrain, said the EDB in its statement.

The improvements made last year in the land application process has led to a 69 per cent increase in allocations. To further improve efficiencies, the ministry has set an objective to launch an online land application service in 2018.

Accessing the land application form on the ministry’s website looks to improve turnaround times and convenience, it stated.

Following approval for land, the Industrial Areas Operations Directorate of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism have streamlined the steps required to sign a land lease agreement designed around service efficiency. This increased focus is also aimed at ensuring the proper utilisation of the land, said the EDB statement.

Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) is the most recent industrial zone to be developed in the kingdom, providing 3 million sq m of land with easy access to both Bahrain International Airport and Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd.

As of the end of 2017, total investment in BIIP had reached $1.89 billion, with 82 per cent of its land capacity occupied by 118 companies spanning various manufacturing sectors from 29 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United States, Canada, Germany, South Korea and India.

Zayed R Alzayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, while highlighting the importance of industrial zones such as BIIP in stimulating increased investment in the country, said: "When BIIP reaches full occupancy, we anticipate that investments by Bahraini and foreign industrial companies will have exceeded $2 billion, creating more than 10,000 jobs."

Bahrain’s large-scale infrastructure development is currently valued at over $32 billion and covers a wide range of sectors, including housing and transport.

This includes $10 billion of investments undertaken by government-related entities (holding companies, funds), $7.5 billion under the auspices of the GCC Development Fund, and $15 billion worth of investment by private sector entities, remarked Alzayani.

The manufacturing sector is a key benefactor of these investment projects. The extensive modernisation programme at Bahrain International Airport will increase air cargo capacity to one million tonnes annually by 2020.

Additionally, the new King Hamad Causeway, the second to connect Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, will help boost the industrial sector.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, the chief executive of EDB said: "The manufacturing sector is a key pillar of Bahrain’s economy, accounting for almost 15 per cent of GDP. Over the past five years, the sector has grown by 18 per cent and is the second largest non-oil contributor to the economy, after financial services."

“The kingdom offers numerous competitive advantages for manufacturing. We are continuously improving the business environment to ensure the best possible experience for companies and investors,” he added.

Al Rumaihi said the investors will be able to take advantage of Bahrain’s low operating costs, the availability of a highly skilled, bilingual workforce, a supportive regulatory environment, and 100 per cent foreign ownership in most sectors.

"Existing industrial projects across the country range from export-based products such as plastics, precision engineering, electronics, food products, manufacturing aluminium products, fiberglass products, packaging materials and other industrial products," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | EDB | land applications |

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