Expat vendors to face street clamp in Bahrain

Only Bahrainis are being granted such business licences which can’t be transferred to expats

  
A vendor sells protective face masks and clothes, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manama, Bahrain, March 26, 2020.

A vendor sells protective face masks and clothes, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manama, Bahrain, March 26, 2020.

Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

Only Bahrainis are being allowed to work as street vendors under new municipal rules.

This follows the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry designating a site in Manama for Bahraini street sellers on a trial basis.

The concept will now be expanded across Bahrain in consultation with the three municipal councils and the Capital Trustees Board.

“Only Bahrainis are being granted such business licences which can’t be transferred to expats,” said Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain.

He was presenting the Cabinet’s response to a parliamentary proposal to allow Bahrainis to operate as street sellers.

Parliament, which is holding its second extraordinary session of the term today, is set to debate 40 replies on proposals presented over the past six months.

Separately, Mr Al Buainain said civil servants were already working 30 hours every week during Ramadan, while flexible work-from-home system was introduced since last year’s outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

He was presenting the Cabinet’s response to a proposal to shorten working hours for civil servants during the holy month.

Families living in one home could be allowed to have separate electricity and water meters under certain conditions to ensure properties (apartments or rooms) are not rented to others, as the government approved another proposal.

A proposal to exempt families of security and police martyrs from electricity and water fees has been rejected with their living expenses being paid for through the Royal Fund for Fallen Servicemen.

Mr Al Buainain also revealed that the proposal to have a media city in Bahrain is already being implemented with the first phase of the Heritage Village in Ras Hayan already seeing productions with further expansions expected in the second phase under study.

Meanwhile, a proposal to cancel the flexi permits has been rejected, but strict rules have been imposed on permit holders.

The minister said a proposal to have the government shoulder fees for Bahraini students at private schools has been rejected, saying that people who opt for such education know they are paying.

However, he added that the government was already presenting those schools with curricula and books for free, besides giving scholarships and fellowships to secondary school graduates and free training to faculty.

“A proposal to have a national centre for cyber security has been approved with the Interior Ministry working on an authority to handle such responsibility,” said Mr Al Buainain.

A proposal to have an AI (artificial intelligence) city has been approved but is under study for implementation due to its high cost and limited budgeting.

“An AI city has cost South Korea around $35 billion to $40bn, while a similar city in the UAE has cost $44bn.”

The minister also explained that a proposal to protect the identities of old neighbourhoods was already in place as new housing projects are being built in Muharraq, Riffa and Manama to encourage original residents to return.

He added that Internet providers have been contacted by the government to provide reasonable prices and better services for people due to heavy online use caused by Covid-19, in line with a parliamentary proposal in this regard.

mohammed@gdn.com.bh

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