Binladin pays a month’s back wages to 35,000

Updated 19 May 2016
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Binladin pays a month’s back wages to 35,000

RIYADH: Seven Saudi banks have paid SR100 million to workers of troubled Saudi Binladin Group, covering only one month of the money owed to them, according to a report in a local publication Wednesday.

These monies were for about 35,000 Saudi and expatriate workers earning under SR4,000. The vast majority will likely be paid by Ramadan 15, sources were quoted as saying. Other sources said the company secured a SR2.5 billion loan from a group of local banks to pay employees’ wages and end-of-service benefits.
Binladin has declined to describe its financial situation publicly, but Gulf commercial bankers have said they believe it owes local and international banks a total of about $30 billion, and some think it may have to restructure some of that debt.
Many workers have reportedly refused to leave the country because they are afraid they may not be paid once they do so. There are hundreds of Saudis earning over SR5,000 who have not been paid, causing them distress as Ramadan approaches and regular payments on cars and other items become due.
Binladin recently fired 80,000 workers because it said that it wanted to rationalize costs. The company was recently allowed to compete for new contracts after the government lifted a ban on its operations following last year’s crane crash in Makkah, for which it was held partially responsible.
A Binladin spokesman said in an emailed response to Reuters news agency that the company doesn't comment on its financial issues or relationships with business partners.
"We remain focused and committed to carry out our promise and deliver the contracted projects to the highest standards and satisfaction of our clients, as we have always been doing."
Two of the sources, declining to be named because of commercial sensitivities, said Binladin had pledged land as collateral for the loan. They did not elaborate on the size or location of the land, or how long the loan was for.
When the government lifted the ban on bidding for state projects on May 5, it also removed a travel ban imposed on top Binladin executives after the disaster. Days later, Binladin made delayed salary payments to some 10,000 workers.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.