A minister yesterday vowed to increase Bahrainisation levels in companies belonging to sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat.

Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed said the holding company, which has 77 employees, was set to reach record levels of locals in the workforce.

He was responding during the weekly session to questions by Parliament legislative and legal affairs committee chairman Fadhel Al Sawad and MP Ebrahim Al Nefaei.

The minister, who is politically responsible for Mumtalakat and all its affiliate companies, said there had been an increase in the number of Bahraini employees and by the end of this year a significant rise would also be reflected.

“The 17 companies under Mumtalakat want Bahrainis and there have been huge efforts in the past, now, and there will be in the future, to recruit more.

“We are at 70pc or more and by the end of this year, Bahrain Airport Company, for example, is expected to reach around 91pc from the current 86pc Bahrainisation.

“The only exception is Gulf Air, due to the nature of the industry, with 62pc – and that is also set for development.”

He added that Bahrainis were a priority not just in employment, but also when it comes to offering vocational opportunities.

“The wages offered are similar to the GCC. Bahrainis are given proper allowances and offered training locally and abroad. They are also the first choice when it comes to promotion.”

Mr Ahmed said some of the businesses under the Mumtalakat umbrella outsourced tasks allowing them to focus on core operations carried out mainly by their Bahraini workforces.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahmed said in response to another question by Hidd MP Yousif Al Thawadi on telecom masts in his constituency, that there were a dozen masts in the Hidd Industrial Area with five more licensed for this year.

“We have located 11 sites in the new East Hidd Housing Town with the Housing Ministry as the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority received 26 complaints regarding a lack of coverage over the past three years,” he said. “There are 22 masts in the main Hidd area and more will be on the way depending on need.”

Housing Minister Bassem Al Hamer also appeared to respond to three questions on the waiting lists for Hamad Town residents, the number of homes built so far under the 25,000 four-year government homes plans, and pending housing services for Capital Governorate constituency three covering Sanabis, Daih, Seef and Karbabad.

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