Jan 26 2012
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Nitaqat forces construction firms to shelve huge projects
The affected companies have now put the blame on the Ministry of Labor, which they said, has established conditions under which it is difficult for them to operate due to the lack of an experienced Saudi labor force in the sector.
Owing to this major factor, contracting firms are wary of undertaking huge projects, especially as hefty fines would be imposed on firms not completing their projects on time. "These companies face one big problem: there is a growing demand for labor in companies in nearby Gulf countries and this makes it difficult for us to recruit professional labor as most workers prefer to work in other Gulf countries to get higher pay," an industry spokesman said.
The Nitaqat program invariably offers runaway workers a great opportunity to earn money, he pointed out. A sponsored worker usually earns about SR60-80 per day, however if he runs away he could earn up to SR130 a day, he said.
"Contracting companies are facing problems because their workers run away in search of higher pay. The complicated Nitaqat procedures have made it impossible to find alternative sources of labor. So some companies have no alternative but to accede to the demands of their workers and increase their wages," the spokesman said.
He also criticized the inordinate delay in the ministry's processing mechanism. "They take too long to inspect a company to ensure its compliance with regulations. It usually takes inspectors a month to do this, and then with the paperwork involved, it takes even longer," he said.
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