Aug 05 2011
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Shoura member wants minimum wage for Saudis fixed
Maj. Gen. Muhammad Abusaq, a member of the council's security committee, said measures should be taken to cut the number of expatriate workers and reduce their impact on the Kingdom's demography.
"The number of foreign workers should be brought down to a reasonable level so that they do not pose any danger to national security," Abusaq said.
"The lack of a suitable working atmosphere is another problem facing Saudi jobseekers. We also lack systems that ensure job security for Saudis," a local Arabic newspaper quoted Abusaq as saying.
"A lack of proper training and educational programs is another reason for unemployment," he said.
Abusaq also spoke about the danger posed by unemployed foreigners who walk around looking for jobs. He also pointed out that many expatriate workers are not qualified to do certain jobs.
The Shoura member proposed adding a new article to the Labor Law in order to establish a national committee, which would fall under the chairmanship of the labor minister and with a number of ministers as its members, to combat unemployment and improve the qualifications and efficiency of Saudi workers.
He emphasized the need for introducing a minimum salary for Saudi workers in private companies as an ideal measure to fight unemployment.
Abusaq's statement comes after the Labor Ministry introduced the Nitaqat program, which has been instrumental in creating a large number of employment opportunities for Saudi graduates.
"Though there has been a positive as well as a negative reaction from Saudi businessmen initially, the Nitaqat program will eventually benefit Saudi businesses as rising unemployment and a surging young population are putting pressure on the job market," said Said Al-Shaikh, senior vice president and group chief economist at the National Commercial Bank.
The Nitaqat program has encouraged many private companies to employ Saudis to take advantage of the incentives offered by the ministry and avoid being blacklisted and denied its services.
Following the introduction of the new program, job creation was faster in large and medium firms than at small companies, as business activity in the Kingdom's nonoil private sector edged up to a three-month high in June after four consecutive monthly declines.
© Arab News 2011
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