Bahrain could become the hub for car, motorbike and heavy vehicle manufacturing if a municipal proposal is given the green light.

The idea was submitted by four Muharraq Municipal Council members, led by services and public utilities committee chairman Fadhel Al Oud, who believes that it could attract global investments in the sector.

“It doesn’t matter if the car, motorbike or heavy vehicle are running on fuel, electricity or move on air, Bahrain has to explore investments in the field whether the available options are conventional or trendy,” he said.

“Setting up such an industry is much easier now, with the help of artificial intelligence and nanotechnology; building and assembling electrical, mechanical and vehicle body parts can be done fast and seamlessly.

“We have vast industrial plots across the country and new others on the way following an announcement by the government a few months back that could be taken up by top car brands to invest in.

“Bahrain is located in the heart of the Middle East and manufacturing here taking into account the soaring shipping and cargo expenses is cheaper than going to Far-East.”

The GDN reported in December last year that a five-year strategy, which started in January this year, is expected to create thousands of jobs and pump millions of dinars into Bahrain’s economy.

The ambitious 2022-2026 plan revolves around five main points: Strengthening national industries, investing in infrastructure, improving investor experience, guiding Bahrainis professionally, and updating laws and legislation.

Nearly 6,000 new jobs will be created and at least BD679 million is expected to be injected into the national economy during the period.

The blueprint focuses on launching a programme to increase the value of major purchases from small and medium local factories, and providing incubation programmes for small and medium industries to encourage creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mr Al Oud said Bahrain was well-equipped to handle any new industry, but believes the potential is in vehicle manufacturing.

“Every now and then we hear about Bahrain University students inventing a car, of course using different concepts as part of their graduation project. So, the manpower is already here.

“We have a plethora of great minds that could be used to push the country forwards rather than just having them handle normal tasks in repair and maintenance workshops.”

Mr Al Oud said that the proposal would be presented to the Cabinet and the Economic Development Board (EDB) for review.

Meanwhile, a draft investment law now awaits the new Parliament which can either decide to review it, or spike it.

Under it, 18 major economic sectors and activities have been identified for potential new investments.

The law presented by Parliament’s financial and economic affairs committee chairman Ahmed Al Salloom lists more than 100 sub-activities that will be targeted for projects worth BD250,000 to BD1m.

Earmarked sectors include agriculture, fishing, mining and quarrying, manufacturing construction, wholesale and retail commerce, electric car and bike repairs, transportation and storage, food services, information and telecommunications, finance and insurance. Real estate, scientific and technical activities, education, health and social services, arts and entertainment have also been identified.

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