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Jan 29 2013

All stops to be pulled out for Saudization in govt contracts

All stops to be pulled out for Saudization in govt contracts
Labor Minister Adel Fakeih yesterday chaired a meeting of a special committee comprising senior government officials to discuss the challenges facing Saudization of jobs related to government contracts.

"The meeting discussed innovative solutions to overcome the challenges facing employment of Saudis in jobs related to operation and maintenance contracts signed by government departments," Fakeih said.

The move aims at combating unemployment, which reached 12.2 percent in 2012 with over 588,000 jobless Saudis out of more than 4.8 million citizens in working age.

The total number of employed Saudis was around 4.2 million, representing 87.8 percent of the Saudi labor force, a study released by the Statistics Department said.

Fakeih said the committee was formed by the Cabinet in September last year and it comprised senior officials from 10 government departments and representatives from the chambers of commerce and industry.

"The committee will discuss how to activate the resolutions adopted by the government to Saudize jobs related to operation and maintenance contracts and revise existing regulations to realize the objective."

The Shoura Council has passed a bill stipulating Saudization of all operation and maintenance works in the public utilities sector.

"The bill stipulates that no non-Saudi should be employed in operation and maintenance contracts of public utilities unless the job is of a special nature and no skilled Saudi workers are available in that specialization," a Shoura official said.

The bill stresses that the owner or contractor of a project who has to appoint an expatriate for a skilled work should also appoint a Saudi as the expatriate worker's assistant in order for the assistant to pick up the skill and replace the expat worker.

The bill demands the preparation of a list of jobs in the sector. "Work visas and permits to employ an expatriate will be issued for such jobs only after the project owner or contractor agrees to a time-bound program to Saudize such jobs," the Shoura said.

© Arab News 2013

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