Ongoing $32b projects remains catalyst to economic growth

Mr Al Zayani, joined by Undersecretaries Nader Khalil Al Amoayyed, Osama Al Areyadh and Shaikh Khalid bin Hu’mood Al Khalifa, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BETA) Chief Executive

MANAMA: The $32 billion infrastructure projects in pipeline will continue to serve as a catalyst to the economic growth in the Kingdom during next four years, says Zayed Al Zayani, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

The ongoing projects, which are mostly in the private sector, will remain a focus of the economic activity across many sectors, adds Al Zayani during a year-end Press conference at the MoICT Headquarters at Financial Harbour.

Mr Al Zayani, joined by Undersecretaries Nader Khalil Al Amoayyed, Osama Al Areyadh and Shaikh Khalid bin Hu’mood Al Khalifa, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BETA) Chief Executive, was cautiously optimistic about the economic outlook for the year 2018.

The Minister says the economic forecast remains a very tricky subject as there are contributing factors such as oil prices and region’s geo-political situation. “If the oil prices touch $70 per barrel in 2018, then the growth pattern will be strong and if oil prices swings back to $60 per barrel or less then there will be challenges ahead.

Referring to his visit to Argentina, the Minister compares the inflation of 27 per cent and alarming unemployment in Argentina with Bahrain where four per cent of inflation and no major job losses reported yet was upbeat on growth patterns in Bahrain in 2018 and beyond.

The reforms and other initiatives taken by the Ministry in 2015 started paying off and the healthy indicators across the many sectors speaks volume of the growth patterns, adds Mr Al Zayani.

The Ministry has been developed a national strategy for the development of the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) which carries a huge potential of growth, says Minister, who believes the National Strategy on the SMEs will be presented to His Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the 1st Deputy Premier and the Crown Prince and Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and likely to be adopted by the EDB in due course of time.

The SME sector is seen a game changer by the Minister which believes the private sector as engine of growth. The SME sector development, he adds, will help young educated Bahraini who are seeking employment or looking at the entrepreneurial skills and business opportunities.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has also taken steps to capitalize on technological innovation paving the way for transformation and convergence of the national economy.

The latest regulatory reforms such as, the accelerators and incubator license would yield positive results in Government’s efforts on diversifying the economic base of the Kingdom.

Bahrain is rapidly emerging as a fintech hub in the region which will also help in diversifying the economy.

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