Manama: Housing Minister Bassem Al Hamer has said he sees the private sector playing a bigger role in the government’s social housing programme by 2018-19.
According to him, the ministry is actively exploring more public-private partnerships on the lines of prior agreements with Naseej and Diyar Al Muharraq for long-term sustainability given the large and persistent drop in oil prices which have halved government revenues.
He was speaking to the GDN on the sidelines of the Bahrain International Modern House 2016 exhibition, which was inaugurated yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
The Deputy Premier affirmed that the government’s diversification policy is based on encouraging the private sector to hold exhibitions that boost the national economy.
He said the upcoming Exhibitions City near Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir, represents a priority, given its importance to support the exhibitions industry.
Mr Al Hamer said the ministry’s 40,000 housing units programme was on track despite economic constraints and budgets for this year had been allocated.
“What gives us confidence about the roadmap is that most of our plans are at least partially funded by the GCC, they are already underway and we are making good progress.”
The social housing agenda includes the building of five new towns, which the minister said “was extraordinary, considering the size and resources of Bahrain”.
The opening of the exhibition was also attended by Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza and Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Al Zayani as well as other senior government officials.
The three-day event is organised by Bahrain-based First Target for the second consecutive year and features major specialised companies in the construction, building material, home furnishings and real estate space.
“The main objective of the exhibition is to contribute to the revitalisation of the Bahraini economy,” said First Target chief executive Yousif Dawood.
“We are expecting more than 5,000 visitors at the three-day event.”