Expat remittances: Nothing alarming

Updated 29 January 2017
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Expat remittances: Nothing alarming

This has reference to the report of foreign workers’ remittances exceeding SR150 billion in 2016 (Jan. 29). There is no need to be wary or concerned about the figures. As in previous years, the remittance figures might make the economists raise a hue and cry without their fully taking into consideration the number of expatriates who have sent that sum.
The amount of SR150 billion was remitted during the entire year 2016 by over 10 million expatriates working and living in the Kingdom. A simple arithmetical calculation (SR150 billion/10 million expats) reveals that on average, a sum of SR15,000 was sent out by each expatriate for the whole year. This translates to monthly per capita remittances of around SR1,250. We also have to bear in mind that some of the larger amounts were transferred by expatriates who are engaged in “Tasattur” or cover-up businesses. Thus, the average figure remitted by the expatriates engaged in lawful employment is much lower.
From another statistical analytical point of view, the total remittances by expatriates account for less than 6 percent of the country’s GDP which is small bearing in mind the presence of the large number of expatriates in the Kingdom. As the majority of expatriates live here alone, they remit 80 percent of their salaries back home to support their families.
With the proposed impositions of fees upon dependents of expatriates at SR1,200 per dependent per annum which will be incrementally increased year after year, the remittances by expatriates who will maintain dependents in the Kingdom will be reduced substantially. However, those expatriates who do not find it feasible to bear the fee will send their families home and hence there is a possibility of an increase in the amount of remittances.
Needless to say, the contributions of the expatriate community to the progress and development of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region have been monumental and unforgettable. Of course, the expatriates have also been able to earn decent wages in the Gulf at a time when their respective economies could not offer that to them.


Cartoon in bad taste

Updated 07 August 2017
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Cartoon in bad taste

I wish to use my “right of reply” to complain about the unfortunate caricature that appeared on Aug. 5, 2017, in your well-known newspaper. The cartoon represents President Nicolas Maduro sitting on a military tank and a hand coming out of the tank’s cannon writing on a book titled “New Constitution.” Such a caricature is offensive to my country.
What the caricature seems to imply is that President Maduro wants to rewrite a new constitution with the power of arms. This is totally false. It is immoral to give your readers such a forged image of Venezuela and its constitutionally- and democratically-elected government.
The revision of our constitution, which is among the best in the world, is mainly to reinforce it and make it more adaptable to the new times. It is not an imposition of our president; it has been backed by more than 8 million Venezuelans and has the objective of re-establishing the peace process that has been trampled by a violent opposition backed by interested foreign countries that pretend to give orders to our sovereign populace.
I fail to understand why some international media report fake news about my country, with the purpose of undermining our sovereignty, and the people of Venezuela’s absolute right to decide, in a free and independent manner, how it wants to conduct its internal affairs.
I invite your newspaper to inform about our country with the truth and the same respect that we, in Venezuela, treat to our brothers of Saudi Arabia.

Joseba Achutegui
Ambassador of Venezuela
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia