Strategic plan to establish 2,000 cooperative societies within 5 years, to provide 200,000 jobs for Saudis

The Cooperative Societies Council has formed eight committees to promote cooperative work, help stalled cooperative societies and establish new societies.
Updated 26 September 2017
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Strategic plan to establish 2,000 cooperative societies within 5 years, to provide 200,000 jobs for Saudis

JEDDAH: Dr. Abdullah Kidman, chairman of Cooperative Societies Council, told Al-Eqtisadiah that the adoption of a strategic plan and restructuring of the council will soon occur in order to establish 2,000 new cooperative societies within five years, which are expected to provide over 200,000 jobs.
He said: “Implementing the strategic plan will require the state’s support with over SR900 million ($239.9 million). The council is seeking to implement its programs in cooperation with the ministries of labor and social development, and environment, water and agriculture through the suggested initiatives aiming to develop the profits and services of the cooperative sector.”
Kidman pointed out that an advisory committee was formed out of the council’s members to conduct a study on the Kingdom’s cooperative sector, the reality, challenges and opportunities, and will present an overview of the best international practices in the cooperative field, and then draft an initiative on “developing the cooperative sector and its role in achieving Vision 2030.”
He noted that within two months, some recommendations will be presented to the council’s general assembly to be later adopted and implemented.
“There are some challenges facing cooperative work, which are mainly the relevant ministries’ weak mechanism of applying laws, the lack of cooperation and response, the slow process of registration, in addition to confusing the work with charity work. However, these challenges are being worked on to be finalized in 30 days,” he added.
The chairman reported that the council formed eight committees to promote cooperative work, help stalled cooperative societies and establish new societies.
Kidman reported that the council has been granted SR230 million in support from the state, and will lend to and help societies, hoping to become the main cooperative work repertory in achieving a sustainable development in the Kingdom.
He indicated that the council’s main objectives are coordination among cooperative societies to avoid any duplication or incompatibility in the provided services; the encouragement of communication; visits and exchange of experience among the societies; and the conduction of a study on troubled and stalled societies in order to improve their conditions.
“We are working on addressing difficulties and eliminating obstacles that may threaten cooperative societies and their goals; defining the geographic scope of the societies with similar objectives and activities; organizing annual meetings for the societies to exchange ideas and experiences to develop their work in coordination with the ministry; and promoting and supporting the organization of qualifying and training programs for society employees,” he stated.
He said that they are conducting research and studies to develop and upgrade the societies’ activities; coordinating the societies’ efforts and services in case of emergencies or disasters in coordination with the relevant authorities; finding stable financing resources for the societies; and encouraging the private sector to support and interact with cooperative work.
He noted that the state, represented by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, allocated a budget he considered a main factor in the development and an economic renaissance.
This economic sector will help treat the problem of unemployment, he added.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.