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

MADINAH/JEDDAH: Pilgrims and visitors performing tawaf (circumambulation) of the Holy Kaaba or praying around it may look forward to relief from the blazing sun, as a proposal to shade the Mataf area is being studied.According to local media, the mat...
JEDDAH: Users of WhatsApp were a joyous lot on Saturday as the call facility finally became available on the popular messaging service in the Kingdom.The facility, which is for free now, through WhatsApp was earlier banned in Saudi Arabia and only me...
TAIF: Terrorists can carry out reconnaissance missions in the guise of beggars, even wearing the abaya, and pose a serious threat to the security of the nation, an expert has warned.“Begging is a bad phenomenon anyway. However, it can pose a serious...
RIYADH: A Border Guard soldier died on Saturday in a missile attack from across the Yemeni border in Dhahran Al-Jonoub in Asir.The man, identified as Pvt. Abdulilah Abdullah Hamoud Al-Shahrani, was patrolling the border in the area when the attack to...
RIYADH: Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman takes pride in his religion and his country, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) chairman.“King Salman lives his life in a confident and re...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Khaled Al-Muhaisin, the president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), are scheduled to meet soon to clear resolve differences between Nazaha and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). According...
JEDDAH: Starbucks has clarified that the ban on women’s entry at one of its Riyadh stores is only temporary and that the coffee shop will be opened to them soon after a separation wall is erected.Starbucks reportedly said that members of the Committe...
RIYADH: The Saudi government is strongly supporting the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building as part of an ambitious plan to expand the Kingdom’s shift toward organic agriculture, which will be good for the country’s nut...
RIYADH: An attempt to smuggle in 2.4 million amphetamine pills was foiled along the coast of Tabuk.An Interior Ministry spokesman said the traffickers fled from the coast after they were chased by Border Guard patrols.The spokesman said a suspect boa...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) closed the booths of five companies which participated in the recently concluded five-day Career Week because of lack of interest in employing applicants.Career Week, held under the auspices of Custodian of Two Holy...
RIYADH: The Kingdom has been developing Oroug Bani Maradh as a protected area for eco-tourism in the heart of the Empty Quarter.Aside from a number of live flora and fauna, there’s are non-domesticated animal species in the wildlife sanctuary located...
JEDDAH: Two women and three children, including an infant, lost their lives in separate fire incidents on Friday.A woman and two children died when their tent caught fire at Al-Issawi, 35 km into the desert, on Friday. The operations room of Civil De...
RIYADH: Arrangements are being made at the Ministry of Health to open a new portal for the Zika virus on its website.Faisal Al-Zahrani, the ministry spokesman, said that the new portal will give adequate details and updates about the virus which has...
ARAR: A Saudi father has urged his two sons to immediately surrender, after their names recently appeared on the list of suspects who participated in the terror attack on the Special Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir in August last year.Salem Yaslam Al...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has called on schools to implement a national anti-drug plan and given a four-month period to implement the plan and report the results.Educational directorates, according to a recent circular, have issued a directiv...

Stay Connected

Facebook