A 25-million Bahraini dinar ($66.3 million) job creation program has been announced by the prime minister of Bahrain, Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, who said the combined efforts of the country’s private and public sectors will be required to provide training and employment to native job-seekers.
The program was approved at the weekly meeting of the Bahraini cabinet, which is chaired by the prime minister. It had been proposed by the labor and social affairs minister, Abdulnabi Al-Shoala, aiming to combat the high unemployment rate in the Gulf state, unofficially estimated at 15 percent. It is estimated that foreign workers account for nearly 40 percent of Bahrain’s 700,000-strong polpulation.
The new job creation plan will target the 9,670 unemployed citizens registered at Bahrain’s Employment Services Bureau (ESB), but non-registered citizens would also be eligible for assistance.
The program involves the financing of training opportunities as well as providing financial support for Bahrainis who join work placement programs. It also will provide subsidies to companies who hire unemployed Bahrainis.
Companies employing job seekers, who take part in the program, would be required to pay them a minimum monthly salary of BD150. The government would provide BD 50 of that, while another BD50 a month will go towards individual training costs.
Bahrainis with academic degrees, including engineers, who go into a two-year job-placement program will be eligible to a minimum salary of BD300 a month, of which the government would subsidize BD150.
The emir of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad Bin Issa Al-Khalifa, took power in March 1999 and embarked on political reforms, which were widely endorsed by a democracy referendum held in February. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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