Improving the Investors’ Centre

25 Feb, '07

The idea of having most of the relevant government ministries or their representatives in one location where an investor might go to register a company to establish a business in Bahrain is a fantastic step. One no longer has to spend days driving from one ministry to another to get a transaction done, now all one has to do is drive to the Seef Mall, pick a number and then go from one cubicle to another to finish an application or add an activity to a commercial license.

That can be improved of course. This came to me as I spent 2 hours and 45 minutes to simply add an activity to my commercial registration! I started the process at 10:14 this morning, and by 2pm when they shut down their systems my transaction did not conclude. Admittedly, only a couple more rubber stamps remain which I hope to finish within 15 minutes tomorrow morning.

Most of that time was waiting for my turn to be announced, but once I got to the assigned desk it was a matter of seconds before that part of the transaction got concluded, which is a testament to the professionalism and the training the staff their received. The centre should most definitely be emulated in all government (and private) offices.

Some cubicles were more busy than others of course. Throughout the time I was there, there was virtually no one seeking the services of the Ministry of Health, Immigration nor the Ministry of Information’s desks and staff there were obviously under utilised. Had they been also available to render services, things would have moved a lot quicker.

Which brings me to my suggestion: people at the Investors’ Centre should be trained to do all the jobs of all of those desks and all the information from the various ministries – the parts that they need to make decisions – should be made available to them too. That means that staff should become multi-disciplined so that if an investor wants to conclude a transaction, she should be able to finish all the requirements at a single desk, without having to hope from one cubicle to another. This undoubtedly speed up the transactions process but the staff will have to be trained in all the functions and should be compensated accordingly.

I’m off tomorrow morning again to spend some time there, but I hope that I won’t have to spend the whole morning chasing papers and that my transaction will be concluded in good time.

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  1. BahBlog | 25 Feb, '07
  1. Eldorado says:

    For someone who works in the Government, and is in charge of among other things a “Customer Relations Desk” all I can say is hahahahahahaahahahahahhaahahah… work together? Dude, it’s hard enough getting people to work within the same Ministry. The One Stop Shop and Investors Centre have a long way to go. Did you know that in order to speed up performace times the One Stop Municipal Shop dropped electricity!!!! Just so that they can say we produce building permits so fast… that doesn’t include the time you have to spend waiting for electricity!!! … The Government doesn’t even trust itself let alone the public.

  2. Maria says:

    I always thought that it is not what you do , it is how you do it :pinch: However, does anyone care??? Does anyone care how things are done? How efficient? How fast? How professional? I think customer care should not be relevant. There are no degrees to it. Good Luck Mahmood this morning. Let me know how it goes.

  3. mahmood says:

    How it went Maria, is that I went there before 9 (about an hour ago) and found out that their system is down. That means they cannot process anything and they didn’t know when the system would be up again. I am told that technicians are looking into the problem.

    I had a coffee at Costa and had a good chat with an old friend, chewed the fat and decided that I should do an article or two (maybe even a vlog as well) about the unrecognised soldiers of the Formula 1 circus, the marshals. Fayez suggested it and I agreed. I’m going to meet him this week to start the article.

    So something good – if completely unrelated – has come out of this morning, but the very final paper that I need (the CR with the new activity) remains hostage to their system, so far.

    Because I know someone at the BIC (Bahrain Investors’ Centre) I have been promised that they will call me when the system comes up again. I hope this morning.

  4. mahmood says:

    It’s done! Their system came on at 11:06, I drove back to the Seef Mall and was out of there at 12:00 with the additional activity properly added to our commercial registration.

    Without the waits and system problems, I suppose this whole process could have been completed in less than an hour. Still, it’s done and comparing it to what used to be the case, it’s quite a way ahead but there still is quite some room for improvement.

  5. Maria says:

    Mabrook. I will keep my fingers crossed :ermm:

  6. i SEND THIS TO JAPAN says:

    HOW WE DO BUSINESS

    I remember going to Dubai in 1991 and seeing the Free Trade Zone with members of my corporate business team and we all agreed that Dubai would take off and be the central Hub for business and media communications in the Middle East. ( a 12 YEAR OLD COULD HAVE WORKED THAT ONE OUT)

    However we did have a point of disagreement, as we felt that the competition other GCC States, would move swiftly to offer similar business solutions that would increase business and create work opportunties and add to the GDP. (BECAUSE THATS THERE JOB)

    As the 90’s past and we went into to the present day we were surprised that Dubai was able to grow without any competition from Bahrain which did nothing noticable.

    Its hard to understand why they made it easier for investors in 2007, I mean why did they take so long? People need jobs do they not? or are jobs not a priority.

    We are hardly giving the competition anything to worry about, Dubai made investiong in there country simple 18 years ago and look at them now. And look at us……….Vietnam will over take us soon, there growth in the last 10 years is incredible. Why as there government is attractive to foreign investors and they just secured a huge Intel Contract to Manufacture Semi Conducters…..

    Maybe we should get foriegn Labor to run our country as well as build our houses and roads. It seems to me we cant do anything….

  7. mahmood says:

    It seems to me we cant do anything….

    You’re throwing the baby out with the bath water aren’t you? Yours is simply an asinine comment, to say the very least.

    We have had our problems for sure, but we are progressing much faster than other countries too, even with all the silly political problems we have been experiencing. Sure we are not Dubai, but we can certainly make strides in overtaking them in some sectors. They cannot be “the best” in everything, so we should (and we have) identify niches in which we are good and capitalise on those. Islamic banking is a case in point, even though that Dubai has built a “financial city” to try to compete with us.

  8. Abu Arron says:

    Dubai’s not that perfect. I stayed there from 2003 to 2005 and it looks great in pics, but the infrastructure just doesn’t support their growth rate. I wish the country no harm and certainly wish it every success, but I’d rather be in Bahrain any day.

    But can someone please, please make sure our roads, communications, water, power (not necessarily in that order) keep pace with the building works or all of Bahrain will end up the same.

  9. Anonymous says:

    As the 90’s past and we went into to the present day we were surprised that Dubai was able to grow without any competition from Bahrain which did nothing noticable.

    Its hard to understand why they made it easier for investors in 2007, I mean why did they take so long? People need jobs do they not? or are jobs not a priority.

    Everybody in Bahrain knows the answers to your questions, can someone with more guts than me answer I send this to Japan.. I can tell you one thing, it has to do with someone passing away, a second taking power, a third who’s educated and open minded, and a fourth loosing his grip on power.

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