New Nitaqat under Vision 2030

Saudi Labour Minister Mufrej Al-Haqbani gestures as he speaks during a Euromoney conference in Riyadh, on Tuesday. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 May 2016
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New Nitaqat under Vision 2030

RIYADH: The government plans a new set of labor quotas and incentives to reduce unemployment as it tries to wean its economy off oil exports, said Mufrej Al-Haqabani, labor minister.

The changes are part of a wider reform plan — Vision 2030 —announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“There is no doubt that unemployment is a looming specter and we will take all measures, whether job creation, job substitution or even, if required, increasing the Saudization target,” said Al-Haqabani. He was referring to the possibility of restricting certain jobs to Saudis and pressing companies to employ higher ratios of Saudis to foreign workers.
Cutting the jobless rate to 7 percent by 2030, and raising women’s participation in the labor force to 30 percent from 22 percent, are among a raft of targets in the new reform plan.
The official unemployment rate among Saudis is 11.6 percent and net employment of Saudis rose by only 49,000 in 2015, its slowest increase since records began in 1999, as the government cut spending because of low oil prices.
Al-Haqabani said the government was ready to intervene on both the supply and the demand sides of the labor market.
“We expect we will need from 1.1 million to 1.3 million jobs to reduce the unemployment rate to 7 percent.”
He said the government planned a new form of Nitaqat that would not focus merely on the numbers of Saudi nationals hired but also on factors such as women’s employment, the average pay of Saudi nationals, the ratio of the wages of Saudis to non-Saudis, and the sustainability of jobs occupied by local citizens.
“The new Nitaqat is not quantitative, based on the number of Saudis, but it will include other variables... We will announce it in two to three weeks, and it will be into effect within five months,” Al-Haqabani said.
About 10 million foreigners are working in Saudi Arabia. About two-thirds of Saudi workers are employed by the public sector.
“There are no exceptions from the Nitaqat for any sector, but the quotas are lower for some sectors according to their conditions,” Al-Haqabani said.
“Retailing, for example, will be required to hire a bigger number of Saudis, while the construction sector doesn’t have this capability.”


In exclusive essay, Prince Khaled bin Salman argues world should unite in confronting Iran's aggression

Updated 2 min 29 sec ago
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In exclusive essay, Prince Khaled bin Salman argues world should unite in confronting Iran's aggression

  • Hitler 1938, Iran 2018: World ‘must learn the lesson of history' writes the Saudi envoy to the US

WASHINGTON: The world must confront Iranian aggression in a way that it failed to do in the 1930s with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, has warned in an exclusive political essay published in Arab News.
Appeasement was unsuccessful in halting Nazi Germany’s rise to power, and it will be equally unsuccessful in deterring the theocratic regime in Tehran, Prince Khalid says.
“At a time of thunderous echoes of the 1930s — the sustained fallout from an economic crisis, extreme polarization of the political spectrum from the far right to the hard left, inaction from the global community and malignant actors determined to fill a void in leadership by spreading their ideology of hate and violence — it is incumbent on the global community to act with resolve,” Prince Khalid writes.
He argues that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, far from curbing Tehran’s regional meddling and support for global terrorism, has in fact provided it with more than $100 billion in resources to finance these activities.
“As at Munich eight decades ago, when Western concessions failed to satisfy Nazi Germany’s desires for a bigger, more powerful ‘Reich,’ the world is again faced with the twin options of offering treasure and territory to placate a murderous regime, or confronting evil head-on,” Prince Khalid writes.
He draws a comparison between Saudi Arabia, with its ambitious development plans in investing for a strong and stable future, and Iran’s lavish spending on military adventurism in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. “Those who adhere to terrorism and violent extremism are but a small minority in both Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he writes. “The difference is that in Saudi Arabia these terrorists are on the run, while in Iran they are running the country.”
Prince Khalid welcomes the avowed determination of US President Donald Trump to take a more realistic approach to the Iranian menace, and he offers Saudi Arabia’s unqualified support.
“The world must join us to confront Iran with seriousness and intent. Iran needs to know it will pay a price if it continues to violate international law and interfere in the affairs of its neighbors,” he writes.

To read full essay in today's opinion section, click here.
To read essay in PDF format , click here