Question to Gov't: What's Better More for Unemployment Problem, Support Programs or Bahrainization of Jobs?
2023-02-28 - 5:26 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Why does the government avoid choosing the right and real solution to the problem of unemployment in the country, especially the specific unemployment among graduates?
Following popular demands to employ Bahrainis and consider them a priority for obtaining opportunities in their country, the government has set up two support programs to hire unemployed doctors with an 800-dinar salary, and a program to support unemployed lawyers with a 300-dinar salary.
The support programs will not eliminate the real problem, as the influx of foreigners continues in the professions of medicine, engineering, education, nursing and other technical professions, and the amounts of support are not paid by the government or the trader. The support is rather taken from the Tamkeen Labor Fund, into which money is officially poured as fees collected from the private sector, or from the unemployment fund, which relies on a fee collected from the salaries of employees in both sectors, which are being depleted.
There is no condition following the conclusion of the support period to oblige hospitals, companies and institutions to employ Bahrainis, whose salaries are subsidized, even for a specific period of two or three years for example. Although imposing such a condition is very possible and logical so that the program does not turn into a game for companies and the commercial sector, and so that everyone whose subsidized salary period expires is not fired and replaced by another Bahraini for a new period. As a result, this will turn Bahrainis into cheap and temporary labor.
Why does the government evade the real solution adopted by weighty Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which is the localization of jobs? In Kuwait jobs are Kuwaitized, as well as in Saudi Arabia, which was the first to start such a measure.
So why is the Bahraini government running away from this solution?
Another question is what is the interest of the government run by Sheikhs and merchants in preventing this natural step that countries resort to, which is the localization of jobs? Why does the interest of Sheikhs and merchants take precedence over the interests of the homeland and the people?
In addition to the problem of depriving Bahraini citizens of obtaining job opportunities due to the preference of foreigners for employment, another crisis that affects the national economy is Intensifying, as foreign workers make huge financial transfers without investing these funds inside the country, noting that the number of foreign workers is so large that it exceeds the number of Bahrainis themselves.
There are at least 400 unemployed engineers and the number is higher among teachers and nurses. The official unemployment figure is about 15,000. Official statements issued earlier by the Central Bank of Bahrain showed that remittances of foreign workers at the end of the third quarter of 2022 increased by 6.3% year-on-year, reaching 752 million dinars compared to 707 million dinars in the same period of 2021.
The huge amounts transferred abroad mean two things, the first is that a huge part of the financial liquidity ends up outside the country, and the second is that these foreigners do not transfer Bahraini dinars to their families, but rather exchange for dollars and transfer the amounts in dollars, which means the depletion of hard currency in the country and exporting it to their countries.
The government's failure to take effective steps to Bahrainize jobs has led to the outflow of funds, as relying on a high Bahrainization rate will contribute to keeping these funds inside the country. Thus, it will be a useful factor in reviving the economy and significantly improving the conditions of citizens. So why is the government steering clear from the real solution, and resorting to non-radical solutions that will accumulate crises until they eventually become intractable?