Saudi Arabia to cut reliance on foreign workers in jewelry sector

People stand outside jewellery stores in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this November 12, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 December 2017
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Saudi Arabia to cut reliance on foreign workers in jewelry sector

RIYADH: In a major move to cut reliance on foreign workers, seven administrative regions of the Kingdom have announced their commitment to the localization of the gold and jewelry market.
The move is in response to the decision by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development two weeks ago to encourage localization, Khalid Aba Al-Khail, a ministry spokesman said in an exclusive statement to Arab News on Monday.
The regions are Qasim, Tabuk, Najran, Baha, Asir, Northern Border, and Jazan, according to a Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report. The seven regions, out of the total 13 administrative regions in the Kingdom, have geared themselves to hire and train Saudis to work in stores. An estimated 35,000 expatriates currently work in 6,000 gold and jewelry shops across the country.
Aba Al-Khail said labor inspectors had carried out 5,960 inspections of stores targeted to be localized in coordination with other relevant government agencies. Some 210 violations had been detected so far, he said.
The decision to localize gold and jewelry shops comes within the framework of the “region-oriented localization” program, which is being adopted by the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Labor, and governorates in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Investment, Public Security, and Passport Department.
Aba Al-Khail said that 12 business activities have been fully localized in the Northern Border region.
He said the Labor Ministry would provide support in areas including training and qualification to prepare youths in business activities targeted for localization through the e-portal https://www.doroob.sa/. He said the ministry would organize job forums to achieve harmonization between employers and job seekers and provide all essential support to the local jewelry industry.
Asked about the impact of localization, Anzar A. Islam, who owns a gold shop in Riyadh, said “the Kingdom ranks among the top five countries in terms of gold consumption, and hence the Saudization of the gold and jewelry sector will go a long way in providing employment to young Saudi men and women.” He said that the “majority of jewelry shops have employed Saudis well before the Dec. 3 deadline given by the ministry.”
“But there is a need to check cover-up businesses (tasattur) in the jewelry sector to ensure localization in true spirit and practice,” said Ozair Ghazali, an expatriate who has been working in the jewelry industry for the past 25 years.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.