Participants in Tamkeen Consultation Forum
As part of its efforts to enhance its services and to directly engage with the public, Tamkeen concluded today the first session of its consultation forum, which was held to discuss its programmes and obtain input from stakeholders in order to meet the needs of Bahrainis and private sector enterprises.
The session began with a speech from Tamkeen Chairman and Acting Chief Executive H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, in which he stressed the importance of engaging the public and receiving their feedback. He iterated that the Forum is part of Tamkeen's ongoing impact assessments and restructuring process to align itself with the pillars of its 2014 Operational Plan; namely, enhancing quality, a more focused customer-oriented and results-oriented approach to address the ever-changing dynamics of the market.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa noted that since the beginning of this year, Tamkeen has been working to lay the necessary foundations and infrastructure needed to move forward. He said the re-structuring process, which is expected to be completed by September 2014, will result in scalable and more flexible programmes to better serve the private sector.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa also highlighted Tamkeen's budget for 2014, noting that Tamkeen will spend about BD 80 million to support the private sector. This figure includes BD 17.5 million for unemployment insurance, which Tamkeen pays on behalf of employers, which makes up about 20% of Tamkeen’s budget.
Concluding his remarks, Tamkeen’s Chairman and Acting Chief Executive Shaikh Mohammed said Tamkeen remains true to its basic goal which is to support the private sector, and will continue its efforts to affect change that results in real and tangible impact.
The address was followed by a presentation summarising the proposed steps to improve Tamkeen’s services based on the results of the consultation workshops that were held last October. In addition, ways to develop Tamkeen programmes and assess their impact were discussed with the participants, who were divided into several working groups according to the various economic sectors. The session ended with a recap of the discussions held by the various groups.
The participants noted a number of challenges that included the urgent need to streamline processes and the time it takes to receive the support, while at the same time maintaining strict controls to prevent fraud attempts. Other challenges include that the programmes don’t differentiate between enterprise size and market maturity, as well as the difficulty in expanding to nearby markets, and the need to enhance the content of the orientation presentations given to individuals and enterprises on Tamkeen’s role within the economy and how to properly utilise its support programmes.
The solutions they proposed to address these challenges included increasing Tamkeen’s presence in the local communities and universities to enhance engagement and awareness of the opportunities availed through its programmes, the need to offer e-Application facilities, packaging related programmes together to decrease number of applications, linking training with employment, and providing subject matter experts in certain fields to better understand the needs of the enterprises within it.
Other suggestions included establishing a programme to promote business opportunities abroad, better tracking and monitoring of beneficiaries after they have received the support, and reviewing the criteria of service providers to ensure quality standards are met.
At the conclusion of the event, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa stressed that Tamkeen will continue to engage with the various stakeholders and hold regular consultation sessions as it had announced when unveiling its 2014 Operational Plan, and noted that the results of these consultations will be incorporated into Tamkeen's operational plans and strategy 2015-2017.
Around 200 people participated in the 1st day of the forum, representing a wide range of sectors, including: Business and Finance, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, ICT, Manufacturing and Industry, Media and Advertising, Transport and Logistics, Wholes and Retail, Hospitality and Entertainment, Education and Training, Agriculture and Fisheries, Real Estate and Construction.
Tamkeen Consultation Forum will conclude tomorrow (Tuesday 1 April) with the second and final session which will begin at 8:00 AM.