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Unclassified land ‘hitting investment opportunities’

Bahrain News
Wed, 06 Dec 2017

AREAS in Bahrain totalling 3,000 hectares are still unclassified, revealed the Administrative and Financial Audit Bureau.

In its report for 2016-2017, it said that the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry has not classified 2,000 hectares and has put 1,000 hectares under study for years despite knowing the rate of urbanisation in the country was on a rise.

It said the decision has damaged investment opportunities and prevented some owners from moving in.

“Owners of plots across Bahrain have been affected because no classification has been made either for residence, commercial or investment,” it said.

“The 30 per cent cuts from private plots for public services without compensations as classifications have not given is illegal and can be contested in court.

“Decisions by municipal councils to classify areas for commercial uses are off their mandate and there have been council decisions which were published in the Official Gazette without the consent of the minister and forced implementation.”

Other offences mentioned in the report include:

- The Electricity and Water Authority dispensed a total of BD456,000 as compensation for injured employees which had to come from the Pension Fund Authority.

- The Gulf Aviation Academy formed in July 2009 has mounted losses up to BD9 million until December 31 last year.

- Amlak, the real estate arm of the Pension Fund Authority, registered low profits at the end of last year because it did not offer 19 properties that comprise 74pc of its assets for investment, while not collecting late rents of up to BD2.19m until last year.

- The Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) illegally formed Selah Gulf Company with a British call centre group stating it was profitable but is now facing a deficit of BD1.7m after the closure of some service centres and its capital shrinking in value by 45pc.

- The Sunni Waqf Directorate has not collected late payments of up to BD2.59m until December last year, while the minors directorate at the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry has not invested BD39m under its coffers.

- The Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry issues tenders and conducts work on projects before receiving municipal permits, while dropping important clauses from contracts so it wouldn’t be forced to approach the Auctions and Tender Board.

- Eskan Bank, under the Housing Ministry, has been issuing loans without checking the status of applications, while late payments of BD2.7m from 3,553 loans have never been collected.

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