Bigger jobs quota plan for Bahrainis

Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, alone has 3,062 expatriate employees, with 986 alone in Gulf Air: MP

  
Photo used for illustrative purpose. Members of parliament are seen during a closed door session during weekly parliament session in Manama.

Photo used for illustrative purpose. Members of parliament are seen during a closed door session during weekly parliament session in Manama.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain - MPs yesterday demanded that companies in which the Bahrain government has a stake of 50 per cent or more should have 95pc Bahrainisation within three years.

A proposal, led by MP and Arab Parliament Speaker Adel Al Asoomi along with four others, is aimed at getting more Bahrainis employed and clearing the unemployment list.

It will now be reviewed by the Cabinet.

During Parliament’s weekly session yesterday, MPs also voted in favour of another proposal to Bahrainise human resources jobs in these companies.

Khalid Bu Onk said Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, alone has 3,062 expatriate employees, with 986 alone in Gulf Air.

“These 3,062 jobs could be mostly handled by Bahrainis mainly in Gulf Air which has 986 expats,” he said.

“There are 30 unemployed Bahraini captains who could be employed to replace some of the 141 expat captains with the national airline.

“Bahrainis can replace expats in many jobs, if not fully at least partially, under a comprehensive plan.”

Ahmed Al Demistani claimed that top companies such as Bapco and Alba were recruiting people from Southeast Asia.

“We have evidence that technicians are being hired from Southeast Asia for Alba and Bapco, while capable Bahrainis are left jobless despite graduating in the specialisations,” he said.

“The employment percentages provided by companies are not reflected by exact numbers and we doubt them.”

Mumtalakat told MPs earlier in writing that it was difficult to achieve a fixed percentage of Bahrainisation in all the sectors.

“Certain factors, such as specifics of certain sectors or the nature of work of each individual company, are not taken in account when fixing a general percentage,” said the letter from Mumtalakat, which has under it 60 companies such as Alba, Gulf Air and the Bahrain International Circuit.

“There are some industrial vocations, crafts or services that don’t appeal to Bahrainis due to the difficult nature of the work or general community perception.”

It said in some companies there are partners who need to be consulted, adding that where experts or specialised workers are needed, they are taken from the local market.

Mumtalakat said half of its companies are already in Bahrain, with Bahraini workforce clearly being its first choice.

“We follow local employment rules but at the same time we have to respect the wishes of foreign partners who have invested their money in whatever direction they may see fit.

“We are keen for Bahrainis to occupy higher posts, as we train locals to take up these jobs.”

NogaHolding, which is the umbrella company for all local oil and gas establishments, said its average Bahrainisation percentage was already 85pc.

“The average Bahrainisation is 85pc, with 90pc in NogaHolding, 72pc in Bapco, 85pc in Tatweer Petroleum, 78pc in Banoco and 99pc in Bafco,” it said.

An official from NogaHolding was present during yesterday’s session to give the same information.

The Labour and Social Development Ministry said top posts in the private sector were already occupied by Bahrainis.

Meanwhile, an amendment to the formation of the Constitutional Court that would allow 10 MPs or 10 Shura Council members to contest unconstitutionality in any law was postponed until next week due to a voting problem.

Parliament also wants to allow anyone affected to contest articles within laws.

Under the current formation law, only The Premier, Parliament speaker or Shura Council chairman is allowed to contest any law after paying a flat fee of BD500.

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