Mar 22 2012
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Ministries eyeing means to curb foreigners' remittances
"There are foreign workers whose monthly salaries are not more than SR1,200, but their monthly remittances exceed SR50,000. This is a clear evidence that these workers are doing businesses behind our back," he told businessmen in a meeting held at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week.
The minister revealed that the ministry was working out a mechanism in coordination with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and the Ministry of Interior to curb the phenomenon and uncover Saudis who provide coverage to foreigners to do business in their names. "The ministry is giving top priority to fighting commercial coverage," he reiterated.
"The ministries of Labor and Commerce cannot single-handedly fight this phenomenon. Others should join hands in the fight, such as the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Interior Ministry," he said.
On the other hand, the Dammam-based Al-Sharq newspaper Wednesday quoted an informed source at the Labor Ministry as saying that the ministry was currently coordinating with the ministries of Interior and Finance to lay down rules and regulations that would help reduce the large amounts of financial remittances foreigners annually make to the outside, which crossed SR100 billion.
The source said the ministry would oblige private companies and establishments to present lists containing the number of their foreign workers and their monthly salaries, deposit their salaries in banks and issue them with ATM cards. "The lists will be communicated to the ministries of Interior and Finance to monitor the bank accounts of the foreigners," he added.
The source said in case the remittances were more than the income, the owner of the company would be asked to explain the reasons.
"The new arrangements will be applied during the next six months to ensure that the funds do not leak outside the Kingdom, curb covering and protect the rights of the foreign workers," he said.
"Monitoring the bank accounts of the foreigners," the source noted, "will help put an end to the covering operations, in which foreigners do their business under the names of Saudi companies or individuals. At the same time, it will ensure that the foreign workers receive their monthly payments on time, particularly as many of them complain that their salaries are being delayed."
Labor Minister Adel Fakeih said last week during a meeting with businessmen in Jeddah that the foreigners annually transmitted about SR100 billion to the outside. The source expected the remittances to reach SR105 billion during the current year.
Saeed Al-Sheikh, member of the Shoura Council and chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, said this arrangement would enable the concerned authorities to know the exact size of remittances, who make them and whether the sources of the funds are legal or not. "It will also preserve the rights of the foreigners and ensure that they receive their monthly payments regularly," he added.
© Arab News 2012
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