BCCI upbeat on growth

MANAMA: The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is full of hope that the current year is the beginning of revival and economic recovery, its chairman Sameer Nass has said.

Speaking yesterday during the opening of the second edition of BCCI’s annual committees’ conference being held virtually this year, he said the chamber has made significant progress in its role complementing the efforts of the government in achieving sustainabile national economic growth, while ensuring fairness and competitiveness of the private sector.

“No sustainable and effective development can be achieved without powerful initiatives of a dynamic private sector,” he said, stressing the need to stimulate the business and investment sector and involve it in the development process, which will help strengthen economic growth and increase its contribution to the kingdom’s gross domestic product.

Thanks to His Majesty King Hamad’s wise directives, the government led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Prime Minister, Bahrain is able to confront any challenges, added Mr Nass.

“We also want to prove that the Covid-19 pandemic did not stop us from continuing to work towards our goal of nation-building and we are determined to succeed.”

The chairman expressed the hope that discussions during the conference would provide valuable inputs in creating a national roadmap for revival of the private sector in the post-covid world.

“The conference aims at identifying the characteristics of the economy post the pandemic, setting up a recovery mechanism for the business community, and presenting a forecast on the economic landscape and opportunities in preparation to raising recommendations to the relevant bodies,” he said.

A film screened during the conference highlighted the role of the 10 sectoral committees that are instrumental in the implementation of BCCI’s strategy.

It showed that the restructuring of the committees last year raising the total number of members of 110 has already started paying dividends.

Around 30pc of membership was changed in the rejig, increasing the number of women participants to 15pc to keep up with economic changes at the local and regional levels.

This was followed by an enthralling keynote address from bestselling author and motivational speaker John Sanei.

Inspiring business-owners to “forge your future”, he said Covid-19 is a gift wrapped in sandpaper.

According to him, the past year has transformed the world and it is foolish to expect things to normalise.

“Instead, businesses need to start embracing the uncertainty, to see it is as opportunity. The new complex world is not about efficiency but about robustness and enterprises can’t be innovative and disruptive at the same time.”

Next was a high-powered panel discussion moderated by the chamber’s executive committee member Basim Alsaie, featuring an elite panel that included Tamkeen’s chief of planning and monitoring Dr Jarmo Kotilaine, Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) chief executive Sanjeev Paul, National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) chief executive Jean-Christophe Durand, KPMG Bahrain managing partner Jamal Fakhro, Bahrain Bourse chief executive Shaikh Khalifa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Baker Mckenzie partner Fatima Al Hassan.

Key takeaways from the discussion were: developing Tamkeen programmes to support small and micro enterprises in a way that contributes to their transfer from a status of survival to that of stability; Call for coordination between the Central Bank of Bahrain and banks to extend the borrowing and financing period for commercial establishments and companies and reschedule their loans; Supporting companies to look at mergers and acquisitions to ensure survival and competitiveness.

The experts also called for establishment of funds to support investment in small and medium enterprises, in cooperation with Tamkeen, Mumtalakat and commercial banks as well as evaluating the mechanisms for implementing the new reorganisation and bankruptcy law as a coordinated effort involving the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry and the Central Bank of Bahrain, to support distressed institutions to survive.

The first day of the conference also included two panel sessions – the first themed ‘Digital Economy and Commerce: The way forward’, and the second ‘Education, Health Services and Tourism: Untapped potential and the road to growth’.

The first session was moderated by Faeq Al Olaiwat, a past president and board member of the Bahrain Entrepreneurs Organisation, and featured food wealth committee member Hamad Janahi, commercial markets committee advisor Shaikha Noora bint Khalifa Al Khalifa, technology committee chairman Dr Osama Albaharna, commercial markets committee advisor Huda Radhi and real estate and construction committee member Mohamed AlYaquby as participants.

Panellists discussed expansion strategies for food manufacturers, mechanisms for creating a clear vision and goals for the sustainability and growth of investments, as well as discussing the kingdom’s food security index and mechanisms to motivate the business community to enter such projects.

Among solutions proposed were reliance on innovation and the use of technology by the competent authorities.

The session also dealt with digital transformation and stimulating exports in the face of purchasing power challenges and the challenges of financing digital transformation projects for small and medium-sized companies, and how to access challenges to regional and global markets.

It also discussed business restructuring and new employment models, as well as mechanisms for integrating real estate development companies by creating a unified electronic platform for all real estate projects in Bahrain.

The first day’s final panel session was moderated by Suhail Al Gosaibi, founder and chief executive of Falak Consulting.

Participants included education committee member Nawaf Al Jishi, real estate and construction committee member Fadi Al Shaikh, education committee member Dr Ahmed Al Koofi, hospitality and tourism committee member Eshaq Eshaq, education committee chairman Dr Waheeb Al Khaja, health committee chairwoman Dr Ebtisam Al Dalal, technology committee member Amal Maki, hospitality and tourism committee member Leena Al Mannai and hospitality and tourism committee vice-chairman Ebrahim Kooheji.


Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/941367/BCCI-upbeat-on-growth


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