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GDN Reader's View: Suggestions for MPs

Abu Mohammed

Recently, the letters section of the GDN has been dominated by comments from several intelligent people on the unfair proposal to charge expat drivers BD50. It was counterproductive, myopic and discriminatory to say the least.

Bahrain needs to generate income based on innovative business proposals. A case in point is tourism. For instance, a minimal increase for those hundreds of thousands of tourists coming to Bahrain through the causeway every weekend will generate hundreds of thousands of dinars.

An increase of BD1 per tourist, which will not affect the pockets of tourists, can generate more than BD1,000 per weekend. We read reports that during holidays nearly a quarter of a million tourists arrive in Bahrain through the causeway.

Last weekend, many causeway travellers were disappointed by the unusual delays in immigration processes – resulting in an unprecedented long queue stretching for several kilometres.

Some say they waited three to four hours to finalise immigration formalities. If their journey starts in the late afternoon, which in most cases is the norm, they arrive here late evening. This has affected the overall business atmosphere in Bahrain.

Arab News (November 4) cited three reasons behind the incident: The private sector’s payday coincided with the weekend; the first phase of the largest shopping mall in Bahrain was recently launched; and Bahrain’s Customs started using a new system for completing procedures.

Our MPs need to think how to make the immigration on the causeway more effective and increase tourist charges, which can generate revenues for the government rather than eyeing the pockets of hard-working and law-abiding expats, who have been and continue to be the backbone of Bahrain’s economy.