Tamkeen: Wage Support Program which Targets Hiring Unemployed Suspended for Two and Half Months

2019-02-27 - 1:18 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Tamkeen Fund is going to extend the suspension of the Wage Support Program, which is geared to encourage hiring unemployed Bahrainis, an additional month, despite promises to reinstate the program early next month (March 2019), after deciding to suspend it for a month and a half, on the grounds of reviewing it.

Tamkeen announced in mid-January the suspension of the program, which it said witnessed within the category of "wage subsidies" an increase of 212% during 2018 compared to 2017, and thus, Tamkeen, said that it directly contributed to the employment of more than 9,000 Bahrainis in the private sector in 2018 only, as per statistics revealed by the chief executive, Ibrahim Janahi.

During his participation at the press conference held by the Government on Monday in the light of its decisions and new program to confront unemployment and domination of foreigners in the labor market at the expense of Bahrainis, Janahi said that Tamkeen will coordinate with the competent authorities to redesign the wage support program in a way that goes in line with the requirements of the labor market and promised that the proposal would be submitted within a month, which means that the program will remain suspended for two and a half months.

Janahi did not indicate that Monday's developments came in the way of the program's redesign plan that was originally launched about over a month ago, requiring its suspension all this time. It naturally necessitated the suspension of the process of hiring Bahrainis relying on such support, at a rate of at least 1,125 Bahrainis so far, if the number of beneficiaries announced by Janahi during 2018 was correct.

The suspension of the program for one additional month means that the employment of Bahrainis in private sector institutions will decrease, as these institutions rely on the use of this program, by approximately 1,875 unemployed Bahrainis. These companies will not hire any Bahraini during this period, unless they guarantee the return of the support.

Apart from the negative impact of the government's intervention in this support program, by extending the suspension, the restructuring plan, which has already entered into force, has put Tamkeen under pressure.

According to available information, Tamkeen was heading towards announcing the reduction of program's support.

Tamkeen has been providing wage support for unemployed people who get hired, as fresh graduates, up to a maximum of 500 dinars, for a period of three years, by 70% of the first year's salary, 50% of the second year, and 30% of the third.

Information obtained from more than one source says that Tamkeen's new plan was to reduce support, to 70% for the first year, and 50% for another half year only.

However, Monday's surprise which triggered a wave of popular outrage at the widespread presence of foreigners in the labor market and high unemployment rates among Bahrainis, rattled Tamkeen's plans, who had to quickly reconsider its next moves.

Perhaps the number (9,000) which Janaih bragged about while announcing the suspension of the program, was the main reason that made Takmeen stop and review the program.

The fund officials asked themselves this simple question: How were 9,000 Bahrainis employed with Tamkeen's support program in 2018, and at the same time unemployment rates increased among Bahrainis?

For the purpose of said program development, Tamkeen has seen there's a need to impose new "terms and conditions" in the support program, for several reasons, the most important of which appears to be the level of fraud and violations that have been committed by some employers to circumvent the previous conditions, for the purpose of obtaining support for employees who actually work for the employer- however, they are not unemployed but were rotated among institutions owned by the same person, dismissed and re-employed in the same institution), or obtaining support for fictitious employees.

The most significant of the outcome of these shortcomings fell as a burden on the shoulders of Bahraini employees, who are either laid off after the end of the support period, or remain victims of voluntary unemployment due to the exploitation of employers (especially foreigners). Reports say that some institutions, for instance, were taking half of the employee's salary instead of offering him his fully subsidized salary.

The category of unemployed Bahrainis, which was supposed to receive support has lost a lot, as the unemployed remain at home, with their high university degrees hung on the wall, waiting for a relief.

Now, they have to wait for an additional month to know the fate of their support offered by Tamkeen.

Arabic Version


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