Short sightedness

Why is it that to every attempt to reasonably increase fees we get an unreasonable reaction? The commercial registration in this country was just BD30 (US$80) annually and there is an intent to increase it to BD50 ($130) so what do we get? Rather than the sane question is what additional value do we get for this increase, we get the Chamber of Commerce bleating that this will “hurt SMEs”. Ok, fine, it might hurt some – which should never have entered business in the first place because of this meagre sum will affect their existence, they’re not worth having in the market in the first place. Their contribution must be negative by all standards. Yet, when we get a humdinger like this one:

The decision to extend the moratorium on Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) fees until the end of the year was yesterday praised by Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) chairman Dr Essam Fakhro.

The response we get is an insane

He said the decision was sound, timely and to the point. [source]

And the Chamber – which most definitely does not represent businesses in Bahrain any more (the fiasco of sectarianism, tepid support for local businesses, completely disconnected from its membership, etc) – clap until they pour down with sweat.

Hello! Anyone home?

To anyone who participated in Tamkeen’s initiatives, the medium and long term benefits gained by SMEs is tremendous.

TamkeenFor the first time in this country’s history we have SMEs starting to appreciate the role that structured processes can play in a business’ future, that marketing is not just printing paper bags with their logos on them for the cheapest price possible, at treating their employees as partners and investing in their training is a good idea, that they have the ability to access seed and working capital to incubate and sustain their ideas and they’ve started to look at international markets and realised the tremendous opportunity that international certifications like ISO and others offer them against fierce competition.

Now that well that initiated this seismic shift in the way that SMEs can do business is all but stifled and the Chamber, who should be the first to fiercely fight such a decision, is applauding this short sighted decision.

Mind boggling.

Look, I’m not suggesting that everything Tamkeen does is perfect, most certainly not, but constructively criticising their efforts and programs in order for them to improve and benefit the country’s struggling SMEs is a much better strategy than cutting or completely canceling its funding.

Just when we started to realise that our future depends on modernising our methods and recognising how to sustain our businesses, we get this. Who benefits from this? I can’t think of any other than the big cats who employ thousands of cheap indentured and ill-educated people who are paid a pittance which can only equate to a gross violation of their human rights. How sustainable is that method of doing business? If this is what the government wants to happen, then they might as well start building slave dhows and be done with it.

SME’s desperately need the programs offered by Tamkeen. They should be supported much more than they currently are, in staff, consultants, resources and anything else to make the only government program which is worth its salt carry on. Not have their funding cut and their future made uncertain.

This is an unmitigated disaster for us SMEs.

  • Meggie Whetstone
    8 July 2012

    Hello Mahmood, just a flying visit to check that you’re still blogging and still OK. I still remember the old more carefree days with great affection, and all the posts about the little ‘uns playing their musical instruments, and your late Father and his art exhibition. Must seem like a lifetime ago.
    My best wishes to you all, stay safe.

    • mahmood
      9 July 2012

      Thank you Meggie, always welcome and life, as it does, just goes on!

  • Yaser Alajaji
    23 July 2012

    The whole thing is not properly thought through. Registration was BD20 so jacking it up to BD50 is a 150% increase – which is not a problem in amount, but a blanket fee on everyone, while businesses that are benefiting from expat labor are relieved from the incremental benefit. Add to that, Tamkeen is being chocked off, so that’s less funding and assistance to small businesses.

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Short sightedness