Prominent Riyadh businessmen yesterday met with Labor Minister Adel Fakeih and expressed their concern over the negative impact of the recently imposed SR 2,400 expat fee on small businesses and contractors.
“Board members of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented their proposals to the minister on how to tackle the fee’s negative impact, without affecting productive and service sectors and shooting up prices,” an official statement said.
The businessmen called for a strategic plan to Saudize jobs in the private sector, adding that it would be implemented after detailed studies and consulting the private sector. Steps should be taken to supply adequate number of qualified Saudis.
The businessmen also expressed their concern over the increasing dropouts of Saudi workers from private companies. Abdul Aziz Al-Zamil, RCCI chairman thanked the minister for finding time to hear the views of businessmen. “Saudization is a national duty. There is no disagreement on this matter and everybody should work to achieve this goal but it needs suitable mechanisms to realize its goals,” Al-Zamil said.
He said Fakeih has agreed to visit RCCI to have an open meeting with businessmen to discuss all matters related to workers and present the views of ministers on labor issues.
Meanwhile, Dr. Habibullah Turkistani of King Abdulaziz University said the expat fee would increase the number of illegal workers in the country. “It will raise the cost of expatriate workers, drift the business sector into confusion and affect implementation of projects.”
Related Story: Labor Ministry panel to study expat fee