By Daniel Shane
Shura Council says traders must be compensated, economy revived
Civil unrest across Bahrain over the past 12 months has cost the Gulf state’s businesses up to US$800m, it has been reported.
In a report presented to the country’s National Assembly yesterday, it was estimated that US$200m of this sum were losses suffered as a direct impact of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, with the remaining US$600m indirect losses that have occurred in the aftermath, according to Gulf Daily News.
The report was compiled by a joint committee consisting of representatives of Bahrain’s Shura Council, its parliament and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Members of the Shura Council demanded that affected businesses be compensated and action taken to resuscitate the island state’s economy.
"Revival depends on survival and we need to help our Bahraini businessmen, small and big, through compensation to ensure that they are able to continue," said Dalal Al Zayed, legislative and legal affairs committee chairman.
"The continuation of the current security situation in Bahrain has to be looked at thoroughly, if we are to maintain a strong economy up to our expected levels and that needed for traders to go on," he added.
Bahrain was among those countries hardest hit by the Arab Spring, where the country’s Shi’ite Muslim majority has spent months demonstrating against Bahrain’s Sunni-led government.
The unrest has had a direct impact on Bahrain’s economic stability. Recent GDP data supplied by Reuters showed that its real estate sector has shrank 5.6 percent and its hotel and restaurant sector contracted 8.7 percent.
The output of its oil and gas sector has continued to increase, however.
Despite uncertainty surrounding the staging of Bahrain Formula One Gran Prix on the island, it was recently confirmed that the lucrative motor racing event would go ahead in April.
Bahrain’s own government has also taken steps to make reparations to cool the political situation. In the last week, it has sep up an independent police complaints commission to investigate allegations of ill-treatment by the island’s security forces, as well as announcing it is prepared to compensate those injured and the families of those killed during the Arab Spring.