Filipino group fears mass retrenchment of OFWs

Updated 26 January 2016

Filipino group fears mass retrenchment of OFWs

RIYADH: A Filipino group has warned of mass retrenchment of overseas foreign workers (OFWs) in the Middle East and urged the Philippines government to take necessary measures to help these people upon their return to the country.
The warning, by Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), the Filipino group for migrants’ support, comes on the heels of the pink slip given to around 30 OFWs by a Saudi construction firm they had recently joined.
“We have been observing the current economic scenario and a sharp drop in oil prices in Saudi Arabia, which hosts more than a million of OFWs,” M-ME regional coordinator John Monterona told Arab News.
Monterona said the Saudi Arabian government has already undertaken economic reforms such as budget cuts and austerity measures. It has even increased the local oil prices by around 50 percent and is seriously considering imposing Value Added Tax (VAT) by the end of 2016, he said.
“Government projects, including infrastructure and the development of various economic cities, have also been affected. Some of these projects have been delayed and some have been temporarily stopped. Hence, many OFWs and expats from other countries working for private construction firms have received termination notices,” Monterona said.
According to him, at least 30 OFWs who were recently appointed by a construction firm were retrenched. “All are still under a three-month probationary period,” he said.
Monterona said: “The Philippines government should adopt short-term and long-term measures to assist the retrenched OFWs. Livelihood assistance loans and similar assistance packages must be made available to these workers, besides jobs,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Riyadh-based Filipino Expatriates Council for Justice, Peace and Order has expressed confidence that Saudi Arabia will handle pressing issues in a responsible manner. “We have full faith in the Kingdom’s peace initiatives, judicial proceedings and rulings, and protection of the country and its people,” it said.

Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

Updated 21 August 2019

Fraud alert over cryptocurrency falsely linked to Saudi Arabia

  • The website of a cryptocurrency company is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal
  • The Singapore-based company uses the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree

JEDDAH: Fraudsters are trying to lure victims into investing in a “virtual currency” with false claims that it is linked to the Saudi riyal and will be used to finance key projects, the Saudi Ministry of Finance warned on Tuesday.

The website of a cryptocurrency company in Singapore is promoting what it calls the CryptoRiyal and SmartRiyal, using the Saudi emblem of two crossed swords and a palm tree. Its “ultimate goal” is to finance NEOM, the smart city and tourist destination being built in the north of the Kingdom, the company claims.

“Any use of the KSA name, national currency or national emblem by any entity for virtual or digital currencies marketing will be subject to legal action by the competent authorities in the Kingdom,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

The fraudsters were exploiting ignorance of how virtual currencies work, cryptocurrency expert Dr. Assad Rizq told Arab News.

“A lot of tricks can be played,” he said. “Some of these companies are not regulated, they have no assets, and even their prospectus is sometimes copied from other projects.

“They hype and pump their project so the price goes up. Inexpert investors, afraid of missing out, jump in, which spikes the price even higher. Then the owners sell up and make tons of money.

“Cryptocurrencies are a risky investment for two reasons. First, the sector is not yet fully regulated and a lot of projects use fake names and identities, such as countries’ names or flags, to manipulate investors.

“Second, you have to do your homework, learn about the technology. And if you still want to invest, consider your country’s rules and regulations.”