Tag Archives government

شكراً زايد

شكراً زايد

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لم ألتقي بأحد في البحرين الذي فعلاً يجسد قصد #فريق_البحرين مثل زايد الزياني. التواصل معه سهل و رده حازم وسريع.

لأسرد لكم قصة حدثت معي هذا الأسبوع لأوضح سبب إعجابي بهذا الشخص…

عندي شركتين، واحدة مؤسسه والثانية محدودة المسؤلية. في أثناء تقديم معاملة لواحدة منهما، اتضح ان هناك مخالفة على الأخرى لتأخرنا في تحميل الحسابات النهائية، فلهذا السبب تم إيقاف معاملات المؤسسة الأخرى لتصحيح الوضع. ليس لدي أي اعتراض على الخلل، بينما أعترضت وبشدّة لدمج المؤسستين هكذا مع العلم أنهما يجب أن يكون لكلٍ منهما شخصية إعتبارية قانونيا. ففي المنطق يجب ألا يؤثر أي خلل أو قضية أو مطالبة على أيٍ من المؤسسات على الأخرى.

فكتبت للوزير الزياني عن إعتراضي عن طريق الواتس آب واستبشرت خيراً لمَ وجدته قد قرأ الرسالة، ولكن لم يكن في حسباني رده الفوري الذي يوافقني الرأي وأخبرني أن الوزارة فعلاً على علم بهذه الثغرة القانونية وأنهم ينتظرون نشر القانون الجديد الذي سيعالج هذه الحالة في الجريدة الرسمية. فإستسمح مني بعض الوقت للدراسة. وفي خلال أقل من ساعة خابرني أن القرار قد أُصدر فعلاً ونُشر في الجريدة الرسمية الأسبوع الماضي وأن معاملتي ستسير ميسرة قريبا.

ما بارحت الساعة وإلا الاستاذ علي مكي، وكيل الوزارة، يتصل بي ويطمئنني أن المخالفة قد رُفعت فعلاً ومعاملتي سارت بسلاسة الى النقطة التاليه، وإن هذا التغيير في القانون هو سارياً على الجميع فوراً.

أعزائي، الحق يقال.. ففي أي دولة في العالم يتسنى لشخص عادي، وتاجر صغير كذلك الإتصال بوزير رفيع و يُسمع و يُجاوب بهذه الطريقة و بطول بال وأريحية؟

.فالشكر موّصل للأخ الوزير القدير زايد الزياني وطاقمه الحرفي وهنيئاً للبحرين لوَعي وحرفية وتواضع رجالاتها.

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The efficacy of late warnings and other governmental machinations to get at citizens’ pockets

The efficacy of late warnings and other governmental machinations to get at citizens’ pockets

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In Bahrain, the citizen seems to be the unquenchable fount of money. Funds which most here are in desperate need of, are dragged out of our pockets by unremitting fines, fees and other government charges and levies.

Last month, the Traffic Dept had its fun by sending us speeding fines that were more than a year old! Proving that what they’re interested in is the meagre contents of our pockets rathe than serve as a warning to reduce speed and follow the rules of the road. Honestly, what good does a late warning serve? It’s like shouting “look out” after the pedestrian’s been knocked out by a car. Some would say that regardless of the timeliness of the fine, it does serve a purpose to deter people from abusing the system and toe the line of the law. Yes, that’s true, but its purpose is moot. A warning should be delivered immediately in order to correct a wrong faster, rather than in retrospect.

This week, it seems that the municipalities are at it by serving warning notices to many houses in Isa Town (as a start?) to apparently warning them to remove the tiny beautiful gardens, or planting patches really, which grace the front of many homes in Bahrain. They have been summoned to appear at the municipality where many think that they will be fined, or told to remove those planting patches, some of which are decades old.

Look, I understand that these patches sometimes take over pavements or walkways. If they are indeed restrictive to people’s movements, then by all means, get them removed. But my suggestion is to be consistent in applying the law. That should also go for people who’ve put up car port shades, built illegal annexes to their properties etc. Go for it. But don’t single out homeowners because they wanted to beautify their neighbourhoods. I’d rather create a competition and reward innovative plantings than penalise them.

What I think will happen now, is that the municipalities won’t care about these factors, what they will do is try to fill the void that financial restrictions might have eaten a chunk off their budgets, but levying fees and fines whenever they like and for whichever infraction they can conjure up. The citizen ultimately will be the loser.

The attached video provides ample proof of how the average Bahraini citizen feels about these situations.

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Knock knock…

Knock knock…

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صادوهم مغيرين السعر😂😂😂

The ministry of commerce seems to be on a rampage closing down supermarkets which display a price and then charge another at the till. Ruyan was closed a few days ago and now Alhazeem’s follows. 

Of course this doesn’t pass without Bahrainis making fun of the situation … here’s a scenario set with a caption that says that the ministry has closed this shop down and arrested its owners for selling Mahyawah (fish paste) with a different price than advertised!!

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Rubber Stamp Culture

Rubber Stamp Culture

In an era where electronic signatures are passé, what is the unbridled fetish the Bahraini government has with rubber stamps? I’m not meaning those stamps which indicate that a paper has been seen, approved or rejected, but the stamps that companies use to stamp their invoices and other documents before they be accepted within the government’s systems. Isn’t the original letter-headed paper and signature enough to affirm its authenticity? Is a company stamp really necessary to add to that authenticity? Why when the manufacture of those stamps is completely unregulated and anyone with a little bit of knowledge could either create a duplicate at will, or even take a stamped paper to a vendor and the vendor would happily recreate it without asking for any form of verification? You see where I’m going with this?

Company stamps are useless. Get rid of that requirement and stop rejecting papers just because they don’t have “an official company stamp”. What official company stamp? Is it registered with an authority? Is it in a computer record somewhere? What if I create a stamp with Mickey Mouse on it with my company’s name around it, will that do? Will that authenticate an already verifiable piece of paper?

Tamkeen are you listening? Get with the program please and stop delaying SMEs payments for such a ludicrous excuse.

And government et al, tell your functionaries that company rubber stamps are no longer a necessity of doing business. You too get with the program. Please!

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Rewarding incompetence

Rewarding incompetence

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Can someone explain to me why the hell the government’s picking up the tab on this one?

Isa Town market gutted by fire

Bahrain’s prime minister has promised “immediate compensation” to traders whose livelihood has been impacted by the blaze which destroyed Isa Town market last month.
Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa also said that the market would be rebuilt in “record time”.

He made the comments during a follow-up visit to the scene of the fire on Thursday, Bahrain News Agency reported.

He was accompanied by Dr Jum’a bin Ahmed Al-Ka’bi, the Minister of Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, who urged authorities to provide an alternative location for traders to use until the market has been reconstructed. [Continue reading…]

Unless the government started this fire deliberately, why the hell is it now throwing money at this? Or is it an inherent admission of guilt?

For anyone who’s been to that decrepit market over the last ten or more years, they would be either blind or stupid or even both together for not deducing immediately that the place will burn down. It was a ramshackle, dangerous, narrow, completely unhealthy environment where nary a single safety precaution was taken. And if you just see what they’ve been selling there: from illicit and “hot” goods, to endangered animals put in disgusting cages and other assorted enclosures, to bare electrical wires to unsanitary surroundings, the government – if it was interested in doing it’s job – should have shut that place down a long time ago. It should have gutted it completely and threw the stall owners out! They should never have been allowed to set up “business” in such a manner.

Of course, none of those “businessmen” had any insurance against possible loss of income or other exigencies, and we know now that it wasn’t necessary at all in any case. Why expend some money when you know that the government’s going to come and pay good money – which could easily be employed in more worthwhile causes – to “rescue” you from your own ignorance. Why? I see absolutely no reason for this largess.

I – as do many people I know – budget for business insurance to cover for extraordinary events and treat that as a business expense. But I see now that I was, once again, severely mistaken and that I should simply await a knight in shining armour to come and rescue me and my business if anything unfortunate happen to either of us. In fact, I shall demand that my auditor insert that line in the balance sheet the next time I have to pay him for his professional services. Oh wait! Maybe the government could pick up that tab too!

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Short sightedness

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.

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Civil War is in the offing

Civil War is in the offing

If you’re not afraid of what and where Bahrain is going, then this clip should give you a good indication. In it, a bunch of ignoramuses are taking the mic in front of a government building in Muharraq inciting not only hatred, but openly calling for the killing of the Shia in Bahrain, and threatening that Muharraq will be the Shia graveyard. Muharraq, that lovely island we’ve always associated as being the model of tolerance, understanding and multi-cultural living seems to be now degenerating at the hands of murderers, torturers and thugs.

All this in front of a government building.

In addition to that, the nefarious convicted torturer Adel Flaifel is calling for the formation of armed gangs with the help of the Muharraq Municipal Council and the Ministry of Interior to “deal” with the Shia – whom he calls traitors – and protect Muharraq from their advance!

I don’t care for these people nor their message of intolerance. What I care about is that by virtue of them being in front of a government building, using the building’s PA system it seems, preaching hatred to the crowd and not a single person is stopping them and to date, I haven’t heart of any official condemnation of that gathering and not a single legal channel has been moved to curtail them when they are clearly breaking the law. If my memory serves, a police station is directly opposite of that location too, so why the police didn’t intervene is mind boggling too. Unless of course the police there don’t understand Arabic and the gathering was deemed authorised and legal?

Enjoy the clip, and pack your bags while you’re at it. Bahrain – with these morons openly operating in it with the full aid and knowledge of the government – is not a place that I want to spend my future in.

Disgusting.

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Endemic Corruption, part deux

The 2009 Audit Report
A couple of days ago I went on about the endemic corruption beleaguering our government‘s organs. Today, with the Audit Bureau Report for 2009 being made public and being subjected to initial analysis by the press, I was wrong in choosing that title. I should have called it the Complete and Utter Collapse of the Government’s Ability to Run This Country instead. And the Audit Bureau’s report does nothing but confirm this fact.

Yalla. Time for either a mass resignation by the government – which is the honourable thing to do, a vote of no confidence by the parliament and kick them out, or the King to put them out to their engorged and well grassed pastures.

I don’t care whichever solution is eventually taken, as long as it’s just done so we can go forth and make something of our future rather than continue to see vast amounts of funds misappropriated, the majority (if not all) the government ministries being mismanaged and we continue to beat that old drum of hail this and hail that while the whole world continue to point and laugh at us.

You know what? Maybe that’s too much to ask – well it isn’t really but I recognize that my demands are completely unrealistic as they will never come to be realized though you and I know that doing anything less is just feeding the fallacy of everything is hunky dory. How about HM finds the top three offenders in that there report, fire them and investigate their mis-accumulated wealth and re-appropriate it to the state treasury?

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Endemic Mismanagement?

The government’s consolidated closing accounts for 2009 has been released to much uproar of the press, fitfully followed up by parliamentarian chagrin and threats to question ministers and impeach them should they be found wanting. Why? Because although the authorised and assigned government budget for recurrent expenditures and projects for 2009 was BD2.484 billion, only spent BD2.082 billion was spent, thus not utilising approximately BD400 million which equates to approximately 16% of the total.

The most offending ministries are:

    1. Ministry of Trade & Industry which only spent 18% of its assigned budget
    2. Ministry of Education spent only 20%
    3. Ministry of Finance spent only 39%
    4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spent only 46%, while
    5. MInistry of Health utilised only 49% of its assigned and approved budget.

This is shocking because one would be forgiven in assuming that those budgets weren’t just haphazardly assigned. They must have been required by the ministry which in turn must have (should have?) supported those requirements with projects supported by plans of action, milestones and justifications and required only as much as the projects demanded. So I wonder what transpired to have this much disparity, and is this shortfall acceptable in international standards?

I am rather disturbed by the top two non-spenders as they are key to the development of this country, one is tasked with producing the appropriately educated personnel who would wind up in acceptable jobs generated or at least envisioned by the Ministry of Trade & Industry. What’s even more worrying is that the very ministry which is tasked with setting the government’s budget seems to be not able to manage its own budgetary requirements! As to the MInistry of Health and its chronic bed and other health facilities shortage, why was 50% of its budget not utilised? I guess Foreign Affairs can run quite adequately without 54% of its assigned budget too.

What prompted this situation and why was such mismanagement tolerated? Is it a case of no oversight by the government on its own organs? Are there no internal audits performed throughout the year to ensure that funds are properly and appropriately employed?

I look forward to hear from the offending ministries’ justifications. Is it that the market reached over-capacity and couldn’t partake in some projects; therefore funds had to be sequestered for the future?

An honest look needs to be taken by parliament, the transparency and audit bureaus who should come up with proper recommendations to rectify this situation. Heads, if appropriate, must roll. At the very least, the worst three offending ministers need to be relieved of their duties. Barring excellent excuses, they have shown that they are not fit for the job.

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How NOT to advertise

Smoke and Food complaint number

Smoke and Food complaint number, originally uploaded by malyousif.

New placards have appeared over the last few days on the lamp posts on the Budaiya highway telling people to call a number if they have a complaint about violations of tobacco smoking or food hygiene.

Apart from the grotesque design and bad placement, the placard just has too many words on it to be easily read while driving, apart form the fact that unless you’re blessed with an excellent photo-memory, there is no way you can remember that number!

I’m sure that it’s not intended; but this bad design and the difficult to remember assigned response number does nothing but distance people from taking the department up on its offer.

I don’t know how much the design of this poster cost or how much the government department spent on placing them on lamp posts, nor do I care. What I do care about though, is for the responsible government department to understand (as should other advertisers) that if they want people to take up a cause and effect an action, they should at least make it easier for people to do so!

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