Call to support heritage crafts

SLASHING municipal levy and commercial registration (CR) fees for traditional Bahraini craft industries is vital to save the dying trades, it has been claimed.

The Muharraq Municipal Council has backed a Parliamentary plan to support heritage crafts in Manama and Muharraq.

Parliament had earlier reached out to the council for recommendations following several appeals for aid from local craftsmen.

“We need to reduce municipal fees, water and electricity bills and CR fees and finally ensure that those benefiting from these measures are only Bahrainis,” said Muharraq Municipal Council vice-chairman Hassan Al Doy.

“The aid should be offered to all pearl divers, potters, textile and basket weavers, dhow-builders, blacksmiths and those who specialise in intricate embroidery.

“These measures will go a long way in helping these craftsmen, especially as their businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We don’t know how many such businesses we have in Muharraq specifically, I assume there are a lot,” said Mr Al Doy.

The Capital Trustees Board told the GDN that they have also received the proposal from Parliament.

The board’s public relations and media committee chairwoman Dr Maha Al Shebab said they would support all efforts to help craftsmen but have not come up with any specific recommendations yet.

The GDN earlier reported that local craftsmen have urged legislators to push ahead with a law to rescue the country’s traditional professions from financial devastation.

The National Traditional Handicrafts Protection Law aims to provide Bahraini products with an international certification.

It also hopes to tax 20 per cent of the value of imported products that compete with local handicrafts.

A national protection committee would also be set up under the law to draw up policies and regulations for the sector.

The bill, originally approved by the previous Parliament in 2018 and drafted into a law by the government, was referred to Parliament’s services committee last year.

However, it was put on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities had urged designers to collaborate with local artisans to help create more ‘Made in Bahrain’ products.

The initiative, launched last December, aims to protect Bahraini traditional industries and promote them regionally, locally and globally.




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