Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has issued orders for new laws to enhance the country’s investment eco-system, it was announced on Wednesday.
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The laws come as part of a wider development effort, designed to create new opportunities for investors looking to access the $1.5 trillion GCC economy.
It also comes just days after reports suggested Bahrain’s Gulf Arab allies are weighing plans for a five-year aid package to steady its finances and protect a currency peg seen as vital to regional economic stability.
The amount under negotiation is $10 billion, though a final agreement has yet to be reached, sources told Bloomberg last week.
Speaking about the new laws, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed R Alzayani, said: “These laws represent a positive and significant step forward to increase and encourage foreign direct investments, and inject further resources into all economic sectors.”
Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO, Bahrain Economic Development Board, added: “We are very excited to see the impact of these new laws, which will help to enhance the environment in existing industries as well as open new opportunities to investors.
“The future prosperity of the GCC depends on growth driven by higher productivity and on embracing the new industries that will drive growth in the decades to come.”
Bahrain will introduce a nationwide data protection law, supporting the development of the kingdom’s digital economy.
The law promotes the efficient and secure processing of big data for commercial use and provides guidelines for the effective transfer of data across borders.
The competition law aims to will make it easier for new businesses to enter existing markets and compete with significant players while the bankruptcy law introduces reorganisation, whereby a company’s management is allowed to remain in place and continue business operations during the administration of a case, as in the United States’ Chapter 11 law.
The health insurance law will be rolled out by the Supreme Council of Health and a Health Insurance Fund will be set up to assure improved pooling under a new national umbrella and coverage for beneficiaries related to benefits and service provision.
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