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Bahrain launches minimum wage fund to bolster youth

Visitors shop in the souq in Manama, Bahrain. The government wants to encourage more youth into work Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed
Visitors shop in the souq in Manama, Bahrain. The government wants to encourage more young people into work
  • Labour Fund initiative approved
  • Youth unemployment at 5.9%
  • Training programmes a priority

Lawmakers in Bahrain are to spend over BD200 million ($500 million) to lift the minimum wage of the kingdom’s citizens. 

The government hopes it will encourage more youth into the working world and stimulate the country’s economy.

The initiative, run by Bahrain’s Labour Fund, which is also known as Tamkeen, received unanimous approval from the Council of Representatives.

It will set aside BD129 million for 13,000 Bahraini employees. The scheme will also make up the difference for private institutions whose employees are earning below BD1,500 ($3,950) per month over a two-year period.

Bahrain’s overall unemployment rate stands at 1.4 percent and youth unemployment (citizens aged 15-24) was 5.9 percent in 2022, according to World Bank figures.

The country’s economic recovery plan, launched in October 2021, aims to employ 20,000 Bahrainis by the end of this year.

By the second quarter of last year that figure was just above 14,000, said Jameel bin Mohammad Ali Humaidan, minister of labour.

The plan also called for the training of 10,000 Bahrainis annually. Humaidan said that number stood at around 7,200 by mid-2023.

At more than $120 per barrel Bahrain has the highest fiscal breakeven oil price in the Gulf, with GDP expected to reach $47 billion this year according to the International Monetary Fund, by far the smallest in the GCC bloc of countries.

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