Bahrain unveils new ‘golden licence’ to attract investors
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Bahrain unveils new ‘golden licence’ to attract investors

Bahrain unveils new ‘golden licence’ to attract investors

The new licence is part of an economic recovery plan launched by the Gulf state in October 2021 to boost investment and job creation

Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
Bahrain unveils new visa

Bahrain has introduced a new class of licences that offers incentives and streamlined services to foreign and local companies that are bringing large-scale investment projects into the country.

The new licence is part of an economic recovery plan launched by the Gulf state in October 2021 to create more than 20,000 jobs annually for citizens by 2024 and attract $2.5bn in foreign investment by 2023.

“Companies with major investment and strategic projects that will create more than 500 jobs in Bahrain, or those with investment value exceeding $50m will be eligible for the licence,” a government statement said Monday.

The new licence offers eligible companies a wide range of privileges and benefits, including prioritised allocation of land for investments, infrastructure and services, easier access to government services, support and development funds.

The scheme also provides companies that hold the licence streamlined access to government services such as business licencing and building permit approval as well as support from Bahrain’s Labour Fund, Tamkeen and Bahrain Development Bank.

Other advantages include integrated cooperation with various government departments, a designated account manager from Bahrain’s Economic Development Board as well as a potential review of existing laws or regulations where necessary and applicable.

The Gulf state said the initiative builds upon its growing investment attractiveness. The country’s latest move mirrors the visa systems and other economic and structural reforms that are being implemented across the GCC region as the oil-rich neighbours seek to attract talent and foreign investment in preparation for life after oil.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Oman have taken steps toward allowing some expatriates permanent residency.

Meanwhile, the country’s investment promotion agency, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), attracted a record $1.1bn in direct investment in 2022. The investments from 88 companies are projected to generate over 6,300 jobs in the Gulf state over the next three years.

Read: Bahrain’s economy expands by 4.9% in 2022, the fastest in a decade

Bahrain boosts non-oil growth

Meanwhile, Bahrain recently said its economy grew by 4.9 per cent in 2022, the fastest pace recorded in a decade driven by an acceleration in non-oil growth.

Bahrain unveils new licenceThe Gulf state’s non-oil sector grew by 6.2 per cent in 2022, the highest growth rate recorded over the past ten years. The country exceeded the 5 per cent growth target set under the government’s economic recovery plan that was launched in 2021 in response to the pandemic.

SICO, a regional asset manager and investment bank, projected that the kingdom’s real GDP would exceed $34bn (BHD13bn) in 2022 and 2023.

The International Monetary Fund applauded the government in Manama for its strong commitment to the economic reform agenda outlined in the country’s recovery plan and the revised fiscal balance programme.

The kingdom unveiled its economic recovery plan in October 2021 that seeks to catalyse over $30 billion of investments and a regulatory reform package designed to support $2.5 billion of foreign direct investment by 2023.

The initiative seeks to bolster domestic employment and attract investments in strategic non-oil sectors including tourism, housing as well as transport and logistics and energy.

The projects include the building of five offshore cities, the country’s metro train and the expansion of Bapco’s oil refining capacity.

In line with the economic recovery plan, Aluminium Bahrain said it commissioned the forced cooling network project at Potlines 4 and 5 in January 2023.

Read: UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain sign industrial deals worth $2bn

The Gulf state also signed an integrated industrial partnership with the UAE, Jordan and Egypt, with an investment size of $2bn earlier in February. Under the agreement, Bahrain’s Alpha Biotech company inked an MoU with Jordan’s Itqan Pharmaceutical to produce pharmaceutical products.

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