Who's Minister Al-Zayani Trying to Deceive?
2019-10-09 - 7:25 م
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): What comes to mind when hearing the term "foreign investor"? You would not be the only one to think that a foreign investor is someone who would build medical production complexes or video game companies or someone with a large bank account.
The latest figures periodically announced by Bahrain with regards to the number of foreign investors reveal that Indian and Saudi nationals are on the top foreign investors list, followed by Pakistanis, Bengalis and other nationalities such as Egyptians and Yemenis.
According to these figures, the number of foreign investors reached almost 40,000. Saudis come in second place after Indians, noting that Saudis amounted to 14,614 out of the 40,000 until September 22, 2019. There are over 28,000 investors from Saudi Arabia and India in Bahrain.
Even if the number seems to be very huge, it is beneficial to raise questions about the reality of these numbers. However, the most important question is asking Minister of Commerce Zayed Al-Zayani about the nature of these investments and making sure that they are not merely shops for selling "mobile phone covers" or fake records.
It would also be very useful to ask the Minister of Commerce about the number of job opportunities these investments create for Bahrainis and how much they yield for the national economy.
It is also good to ask the Minister of Commerce about issuing 883 trade records for Saudis in the "trade and repair of vehicles and motorcycles sector". What exactly does this sector include and what do these records comprise?
In the same context, the minister should be asked about the definition of "administrative services activities and support services" in which our Saudi brothers are active and have 430 records. One should also ask the concerned parties at the Ministry of Labor and Labor Market Regulatory Authority about the location of such establishments.
We want to know in which areas the 14,000 Indian nationals invest in Bahrain. How much do they invest? What's the number of Bahrainis who work in their companies and what are the wages they receive? There haven't been enough answers for these questions to date.
While people who own the largest car agencies are called local investors, those who sell "chips and candies"are named foreign investors.
The transparency the governmental bodies say they are keen to follow demands answering many of these questions in terms of the reality of direct foreign investments, the job opportunities they create for Bahrainis as well as their economic revenue.
In fact, even if what comes to mind is not theoretically correct regarding the definition of "foreign investor", it reflects great aspirations for diversification of the economy. Bahrainis want foreign investments to create many jobs in order to contain the growing problems, such as unemployment and poverty.
Citizens want to move Bahrain forward as per Vision 2030, to "lay the foundations through which Bahrain can benefit from the economic global knowledge and develop innovations", and not turn the country into a divided market as it currently is.