Slash Bahrainisation rate plea by jewellers
Manama, April 17, 2011
Gold and jewellery traders are calling on the government to cut down the compulsory Bahrainisation level in the industry to boost business.
The present level of 20 per cent Bahrainisation is far too much since traders are unable to find any Bahrainis with skills the industry needed, said Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gold and Pearl Jewellery Com-mittee head Mohammed Sajid Shaikh.
'These are difficult times and we need help in every way,' Shaikh told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'We have been carrying on with the 20 per cent Bahrainisation for the last few years because business was good, but now we have to think in terms of reducing it.
'The industry needs people with technical and specific goldsmith skills in its manufacturing activities.
'Craftsmen with such skills are very rare in the local market and we therefore need expatriates.'
He said Bahrainisation percentage needed to be revised from the high 20 per cent to a reasonable 5 per cent.
'This will ease the labour market and revive the gold and jewellery industry and help it contribute more to Bahrain's economy,' said Shaikh.
He said there was an urgent need to restore confidence of the business community.
'For this to happen, a peaceful and secure environment is needed for businesses to continue their activities,' said Shaikh.
There has been a marked improvement in the security situation in the old Manama suq area over the last few weeks, he said.
'After the visit of Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro to the Gold Suq on March 30, there has been much improvement,' said Shaikh.
'Policemen are regularly patrolling the area, the whole place is well-lighted and customers have started returning. Business is now starting to look up.'
Shaikh had earlier said the trade lost more than a million dollars a day in the week businesses remained shut between March 13 and 19.
Traders have also been demanding the immediate reopening of the King Fahad Causeway, suspension or scrapping government levies and improvement in the security situation.
Shaikh said there were more than 15,000 people involved in the gold and jewellery trade in Bahrain.
Around 4,000 of them are goldsmiths, while the rest are associated with other aspects.
There are also around 600 gold and jewellery shops in the country, with half of them situated in the Manama area.-TradeArabia News Service