MANAMA - A new plan for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) targets their share of national exports rising from eight per cent currently to 20pc in five years, Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Al Zayani has said.

Speaking during the Euromoney GCC Financial Forum 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay yesterday, the minister said it is also hoped that SMEs’ share of the total number of jobs in Bahrain would go up to 60pc from 47pc currently.

SMEs account for 99pc registered businesses and have a 30pc share of the national GDP, he added.

The new national plan aims at giving SMEs the right ecosystem capable of motivating Bahrainis and entrepreneurs to excel and is to be implemented in co-operation with the Economic Development Board (EDB), Tamkeen and the Bahrain Development Bank.

It will include all legal and policy frameworks as well as procedures, he said, adding that it will also include the development of laws such as insolvency and bankruptcy laws, channels of financing and encouragement to export and provide all kinds of advice.

Highlighting that creating an integrated business environment for investors was crucial to support growth of trade and commerce, the minister said he hoped that Bahrain’s private sector would take up the challenge and make the most of opportunities to expand and venture into new markets that it had not done as yet.

Talking about key initiatives of his ministry, Mr Al Zayani said the commercial registration portal Sijilat, launched in 2016, has already helped the country to achieve a substantial improvement in the ease of doing business.

“This development is set to expedite Bahrain’s journey towards digital transformation by helping to attract more international companies and best practice approaches from around the world,” he added.

An important part of such endeavour has been the creation of a strong infrastructure and ecosystem for economic growth, aiming to maintain global competitiveness and further enhance the quality of life for Bahrainis.

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