Oct 03 2011
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Saudi job initiative is not full solution: minister
Kingdom to announce 30 overtures to support job Saudisation
Adel Faqih also disclosed that his ministry is working on 30 new initiatives to be launched in the coming period to support Nitaqat (ranges), the country's most aggressive job Saudisation programme targeting the private sector.
"Nitaqat does not provide a complete solution to the problem but is a major part of a solution...many private sector establishments have already recorded considerable achievements in providing jobs to Saudis since the initiative was launched," Faqid said at a seminar in Riyadh on Saturday.
"At the same time, the ministry is serious in enforcing penalties against establishments which fall within the red and yellow categories...but before we implement these penalties, we are interested in providing the promised incentives to cooperating companies," he said.
Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and world's top oil exporter, launched Nitaqat in June after the failure of previous initiatives to force the private sector to hire more Saudis and support government bids to cut unemployment.
The government said it would give four different classifications to firms operating in the kingdom according to their compliance with regulations to hire more Saudis.
Compliant firms will be rated as "excellent and green" and those failing to abide by the rules will be classified as "red and yellow".
According to Faqih, nearly 20 per cent of those companies could find themselves in the red zone because of the low percentage of their Saudi labour. Analysts described Nitaqat as the most radical measure taken by the Saudi government to force its massive private sector to employ more Saudis following the failure of previous procedures and a deterioration in unemployment.
The programme comes amidst reports that unemployment in Saudi Arabia is widening because of the private sector's preference of the cheaper expatriate labour and the fact that the population is growing faster than the economy.Faqih put the official unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, at around 10.5 per cent at the end of 2010, nearly 450,000. But he noted female joblessness largely exceeds that rate, standing at 26.6 per cent.
Unemployment among high school graduates is also as high as 40 per cent.He said nearly six million foreigners work in the Saudi private sector, accounting for around 90 per cent of the sector's total work force."Within Nitaqat programme, there will be no room for cheating the system and all companies are advised to adhere to the rules," Faqih warned.
© Emirates 24|7 2011
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