Domestic Haj service providers want govt help to reduce losses



JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR & IBRAHIM NAFFEE

Published — Tuesday 10 September 2013

Last update 13 September 2013 4:16 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Domestic pilgrim service providers have urged the Haj Ministry to take immediate steps to reduce the huge losses being suffered by them as a result of the ministry’s decision to reduce the number of domestic pilgrims by 50 percent this year.
They said about 23,000 employees, including Saudis, are likely to lose their jobs as a result of the decision. “Of course, we agree that public interest should be given priority to private interest. At the same time the ministry should not turn a deaf ear to our plight. Our losses have reached SR2 billion this year,” the owner of a Haj service company said.
Badr Jameel Al-Qurashi, an investor in the sector, said the ministry had reduced the number of domestic pilgrims by 66 percent instead of 50 percent, further hiking losses of some 206 Haj firms.
“This will force these companies to get rid of nearly 23,000 employees,” he pointed out.
Ahmed bin Humaid Al-Reeshi, whose company offers low-cost Haj services, said the number of companies providing Haj services at low cost has declined by 80 percent this year because the ministry was not providing any incentives for them. These companies charge service fees ranging between SR1,900 and SR3,900.
Mohammed Ahmed Badi, another investor, said about 60 companies have signed an agreement with the ministry pledging not to increase charges this year. They offer prices ranging between SR3,000 and SR10,000 per pilgrim. However, he pointed out that the ministry’s stance toward these firms was not encouraging.
Nasser Abdullah Al-Ahmary said Haj firms suffer losses worth SR40 million every year for arranging their tents. He urged the ministry to allocate tents to companies for three to five years to avoid these losses.
However, it's not all doom and gloom. Saad Al-Quraishi, chairman of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah at the Makkah Chamber for Commerce and Industry, said: “There are more than 1,000 jobs for women and 1,500 for men. Every year, the Haj season provides job opportunities for Saudis in many areas to serve pilgrims. However, the government decision to reduce the number of pilgrims this year can be expected to affect the number of job opportunities on the market.”
Public and private business establishments covering the health, security, transportation, translations and IT domains hire Saudi men and women to serve pilgrims during the Haj season. Besides these core areas, several enterprising Saudis and expats also set up small businesses, providing food, beverages, transport and gift articles for pilgrims, which are profit-making ventures during the season.
The railway project in the holy cities could also provide more job opportunities for Saudis. There are 20 trains, each 300 meters in length with a capacity of 3,500 pilgrims per trip. The trains will transport about 72,000 pilgrims. Trains can transport 500,000 pilgrims from Makkah to Mina and from Mina to Arafat. In addition, this sector provides around 4,000 job opportunities for Saudis to work as security guards and administrators.
“The railway project in the holy cities will provide 2,000 jobs for Saudis. However, the transportation sector allows a flow of pilgrims only within the holy sites. Many Saudis prefer to offer transportation services within their own business,” Al-Quraishi told Arab News.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...
RIYADH: Plans are underway to shift the labor dispute commission in the Ministry of Labor to the Ministry of Justice. Related discussions were held here Thursday between Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani.The disc...
JEDDAH: Drifting has taken a heavy toll of young men who spent their time and energy in the pursuit of this dangerous game for lack of family awareness and guidance.Observers said that the last decade witnessed a dramatic increase in traffic accident...
RIYADH: A mass brawl between migrant workers at a company along Al-Thumama Road broke out in Riyadh on Thursday, causing the death of one worker and the burning of two police vehicles.A Riyadh police source said authorities received a report on Thurs...
JEDDAH: Thousands of expatriates living in Jeddah, who are non-Arabic speakers, were excited about the monthlong 36th Jeddah Festival.The Jeddah and summer festivals this year had a number of theatrical events, entertainment programs, fireworks, arti...
MADINAH: In a tragic Madinah incident, two children died and a woman was injured in a fire which broke out in a house.Capt. Naif bin Mohammad Al-Juhani, spokesman for Civil Defense, said the control room received information about the fire incident i...
JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco said it has financed building 63,000 houses for Saudis through the citizen house owning program implemented by the company. The company said it has granted 1,037 loans to Saudis to build new houses in 2014, stressing that this pr...
RIYADH: A special team of officials from the Ministry of Health, led by Deputy Minister Hamad Aldhwilaa, visited hospitals in the southern border area to ensure that services are available to serve patients in the Asir, Jazan and Najran regions.On ar...
DAMMAM: On April 30 1935, drilling started on test well No. 1 in Dammam. After seven months, only gas was found with traces of oil at a depth of 700 meters. So it had to be plugged. Drilling began on Dammam well No. 2 on Feb. 8, 1936, and started pro...
JEDDAH: A team of doctors at King Abdul Aziz Hospital carried out emergency life-saving surgery on a Kazakh pilgrim who was suffering from a rare disease, on the night of Eid Al-Fitr, according to a website.The 17-year-old Kazakh pilgrim was brought...
JEDDAH: Members of sector committees affiliated with the Council of Saudi Chambers have tried to reach a settlement with the Ministry of Labor that would allow laborers to work on their projects during the day.The attempt was made based on an agreeme...
JEDDAH: The increase in school fees has caused parents to remove their children from private schools and enroll them in public schools in Madinah.With the approaching new school year, many parents were surprised to find that school fees were increase...
RIYADH: The size of the tourism industry has crossed the SR100-million mark with around 130 organizations in the field and the revenues generated through festivals are approximately SR11 billion annually, experts have said. The figures have been prov...
JEDDAH: A total of 105 pay-and-park areas have been opened in the city, including Jeddah historical district, downtown market place, Bab Makkah, Al Andalus Street and Palestine Street.Hani Ahmad Abdullah, media spokesperson for Jeddah Municipality, s...
RIYADH: Moroccan Ambassador Abdussalam Baraka has praised “excellent” trade and bilateral relations between his country and Saudi Arabia and expected the ties to grow further.Speaking on the occasion of Morocco’s National Day on Thursday night, the e...

Stay Connected

Facebook