Bahrain Cabinet moves to tackle trucks chaos
Manama, April 14, 2014
Massive truck bottlenecks on King Fahad Causeway were yesterday the focus of a Cabinet session in Bahrain chaired by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
They pose a serious threat to Bahrain's competitiveness as a business hub, ministers heard.
The Premier directed the Interior Ministry to assess procedures and ensure traffic on the strategic artery is eased, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Trucks could be supplied with passes to enter the causeway, but measures will be enforced to prevent any misuse.
The Premier stressed the need to ease jams and overcome obstacles which hamper imports, exports and passengers in and out of Bahrain.
He also underscored the importance of averting negative repercussions which would affect Bahrain's competitiveness as a business hub and tourism destination.
Difficulties confronting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were also on the agenda.
The Premier directed the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) to reconsider measures against SME owners who failed to pay fees levied on foreign employees. He instructed LMRA officials to seek other payment alternatives which do not affect these businesses.
However, strict measures will be enforced to ensure SME owners finalise medical check-ups for their expatriate employees.
Precautionary measures are to be stepped up to ensure all expatriates and their families are vaccinated. The cases of measles recently diagnosed among foreigners prompted the Premier to direct the Health Ministry to take action.
Twenty-one tenders averaging BD12 million ($31.6 million) have been awarded over the past three months. Bids have also been invited for 18 other projects worth BD45 million in the first quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information Affairs and official government spokeswoman Sameera Rajab told a press conference after the Cabinet session that several options had been presented to end truck delays on the King Fahad Causeway, but required further review.
"The issue is of high concern to the government which is looking to end the crisis as soon as possible with the best available options," said Rajab.
"We have heard plans and read in the press about solutions, but nothing is official.
"The Cabinet is currently studying the situation and will come up with solutions.
"It should be understood that the tailbacks are seasonal, with the flow moving in ease in other situations." - TradeArabia News Service