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97pc businesses in Bahrain ‘hit by unrest’

Bahrain’s economy was severely affected during the height of the unrest, which caused a devastating impact on 97 per cent of local businesses with 84.6 per cent reporting loss of income, said a report.

The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) had conducted an independent survey on the economy, which revealed that the construction and industrial sectors were most affected by the February and March unrest, according to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report. A total of 835 businesses sought immediate aid from the BCCI over difficulties they were facing as a result of the unrest.

The negative impact sustained by several businesses also prohibited them from rehiring dismissed employees, even after the state of National Security was lifted and the economy started blooming again.

‘Several sectors of the economy were negatively affected by the events of February and March, with the construction and industrial sectors most affected,’ stated the BICI report. ‘According to a survey, 97 per cent of businesses reported that the events of February/March 2011 had a negative impact on business.

‘An 84.6 per cent of businesses reported a loss of income, while only 4.3 per cent reported no loss and another 4.3 per cent reported an increase in income,’ ‘Additionally, 90 per cent of companies reported receiving government support for their businesses as a result of the negative effects of the events.’

Of the businesses that were affected, 36 per cent overcame the obstacle by September, while 21 per cent were still experiencing losses.

On September 29, after the survey was submitted, the BICI met representatives of over 40 Bahraini businesses.

Salaries

They claimed they were badly affected by the unrest, which prohibited them from rehiring the dismissed employees, who were absent from work during the height of the unrest. The report also stated that businesses were forced to reduce employee salaries in an attempt to reduce losses. Some business owners sacked employees after the unrest to compensate for the losses in profits, it added.

‘In terms of employment, 46.3 per cent of businesses reported that their employee salaries remained the same, while 27.8 per cent reduced employees’ salaries,’ said the report. ‘The BCCI also reported that 34.6 per cent of businesses employed the same number of workers, while 42.6 per cent reduced the number of employees.’

‘Sacking of employees also affected some businesses, where 22 per cent reported a complete standstill of business due to lack of workers.

‘Businesses were also affected when they lost their employees, either by termination or resignation. While 22 per cent reported that business came to a total stop, 45 per cent of business owners reported that business partially stopped and 15 per cent continued work as usual.’

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