Interviewer: At the outset I would like to congratulate the people of Bahrain on the inauguration of the Salman Industrial City, which is a truly significant landmark and achievement. On this occasion I would like to express a world of heartiest gratitude for H.M. King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and the wise government of Bahrain. Even naming the city after H.R.H Prince Salman the Crown Prince represents the future hope, optimism and dynamism which we are all inspired by.
Q1 - The impact of industrial areas on the overall industrial and economic progress of Bahrain?
- Significant impact.
- This is yet another example of translating Bahrain’s vision 2030 into reality.
- The Industrial Area has a positive impact on the overall industrial progress of Bahrain. Already a number of projects have started. Many will follow and like everywhere else these zones work on the concept of shared and integrated facilities.
- Today industry in general and oil and gas in particular, have proven to be one of the biggest contributors to the economy of Bahrain, so developing this sector would directly impact the economy.
- This will also generate many employment opportunities for Bahrainis.
Q2 - The impact of such projects on attracting free trade agreements with other countries?
- Because of our wise political leadership, Bahrain has earned a renowned repetition worldwide. This is already working to our advantage and once we develop a solid and sound industry, many countries will welcome free trade agreements for mutual benefits.
- Careful selection of industries which yield high values and returns would be key in speeding up such agreements.
- Supply and demand prevails.
Q3 - What are the challenges that Bahrain faces in the field of industry and economy?
- Willingness to change and be dynamic and innovative.
- Securing and increasing our feedstock remains a big challenge.
- Achieving a deal with a neighboring country to import feedstock.
- Developing a worldwide marketing network and capabilities.
- Energy conservation.
- Development of skilled human resources to lead and run our industry.
- Enhancing the quality of our universities to produce quality graduates.
- Long term vision for return on investment.
Q4 - Where does Bahrainisation stand today in the industrial sector?
- The industry has the highest rate of Bahrainisation compared to any other sector in Bahrain. Not only here, but also compared to other countries in the GCC.
- GPIC is almost 90% Bahrainised and the percentage is similar in all the major industrial companies.
- Bahrain is renowned for its dependable, trusted and loyal manpower. Bahrainis have proven themselves in all industries. The entire executive management.
- The entire executive management running GPIC are Bahrainis.
- Cooperation with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry to support small and medium size companies.
- Many Organizations are developing Bahrainis through succession plans to continue this legacy.
- Large companies OK // We need to concentrate on medium and small companies and support them.
Q5 - Does the place we stand in today serve vision 2030?
- Our Leadership issued the Vision 2030 showing us the path, the direction and what they want for Bahrain in the future. The role of various ministries and companies to implement and embark on plans and objectives driven from that vision 2030 is to transform this vision into reality. The Oil and Gas industry is very much in line with the vision as follows:-
- Quality, sustainability, willingness to change and innovative.
- Managed to promote Bahrain so that more than 80 major international companies actually shown interest in doing business with Bahrain.
- Several major projects were launched to complement and integrate our existing industry.
- Created job opportunities for Bahrainis.
- Created a pool of human talents to run, manage and lead the industry.
- We have established a management system to ensure consistency and professionalism.
- We have promoted and issued a work ethic guide to ensure fairness, honesty and integrity.
- We have empowered women to assume responsibilities.
Q6 - What are the obstacles that need to be removed?
- Outdated bureaucracy and systems
- Outdated laws
- Ineffective support services which are not commensurate with the “now” requirements.
- His Majesty started with the National Charter – involving the people.
- Resistance to change.
Q7 - Despite any challenges we face, does Bahrain remain to be a country capable of attracting investments on all levels in all areas?
- We have achieved this in the past, we are doing it now and I see no reason for not being able to attract investments in the future.
- We have managed to convince many petrochemical and related service industries to relocate or be represented in Bahrain. Not only that, we have also influenced other companies to come to Bahrain, for example, we have been in contact with Software AG, the German based software company. After showing them Bahrain and its merits, they have decided to establish an office for their operations.
- In March last year, we convinced the International Fertilizer Association to hold their first Global Safety Summit here in Bahrain, which was attended by the leaders of all fertilizer industries worldwide.
Q8 - Where do we stand on the industrial level compared to 20 years ago?
- We hold high regard and appreciation for all those who planted the seeds for our industry. I believe there is no comparison between the past and now. The development which has occurred in the Oil and Gas Industry in the past 5 years is much more than that achieved in 70 years.
- Contracts signed
- Laws established
- Drill and exploration activities started
- Expansion projects are announced
- Companies are formed
- Heavy investments are made
- Obtained commitment from all parties
- Developed skilled Human Resources.
Q9 - Where are the gaps that need to be filled?
- A comprehensive Public Relations Strategy to promote industry and Bahrain. The Economic Development Board (EDB) is doing this now, but we need others to support them.
- Training and developing skills and capable human resources – Bahrain Polytechnic.
- Creating a culture of quality conscious and drive for excellence.
- Encouraging the private sector to have an active role and be more involved.
- I have always felt that the pace in which we carry out and execute things needs to be changed and we need to act fast as opportunities will not wait.