Bahrain introduces Golden Licence scheme

Bahrain launched a new initiative on Monday called the ‘Golden Licence’ to attract more investment projects and enhance job creation in the country. According to the government statement, companies with strategic projects creating over 500 jobs in Bahrain, or an investment value exceeding $50 million, will be eligible for the licence. The scheme offers several incentives and services to foreign and local businesses involved in large-scale investment projects in the Gulf nation. These benefits include prioritised land allocation for investments, infrastructure services, and utilities.

Additionally, companies will have easy access to government services such as business licensing and building permit approval, as well as support from Bahrain’s Labour Fund, Tamkeen, and Bahrain Development Bank. There will be an integrated co-operation with various government departments, and a designated account manager from Bahrain’s EDB will be available. There is also potential review of existing laws or regulations where necessary and applicable.

Introduced by Bahrain’s Cabinet, the licence aims to attract investments from local and international companies, and create jobs locally. This initiative is part of Bahrain’s major economic reform plan launched in 2021, which seeks to invest around $30 billion in strategic projects to drive post-coronavirus growth, boost employment for citizens and attract foreign direct investment. The plan aims to create more than 20,000 jobs for citizens annually until 2024 and train 10,000 more through its Tamkeen programme.

The new ‘Golden Licence’ is aimed at enhancing the ease of doing business in Bahrain and is expected to help the country balance its budget by 2024. Bahrain’s economy grew by 4.9 per cent last year, the highest rate since 2013, underpinned by a robust performance in the country’s non-oil sectors that were targeted under its economic reform plan. It was the highest rate since 2012 and more than the five per cent annual target set by the economic reform plan. The move comes as other GCC countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have also announced several labour reform programmes as well new initiatives to boost foreign investment.

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