Price controls urged for labor drive to succeed

Updated 14 January 2014

Price controls urged for labor drive to succeed

The government should not allow businesses to use the shortage of expatriate workers as an excuse to raise prices, said experts and residents here.
They urged the Ministry of Commerce and other government agencies to take action against those manipulating the prices of goods and services. Price controls would ensure more business, investment and job opportunities for Saudis, they say.
Abdulhamid Al-Omari, a citizen, said the government should continue its raids particularly at markets where illegal expatriates are employed. He said hundreds of cover-up and other illegal businesses would close down, creating opportunities for Saudis to open small business, particularly in the telecoms sector currently dominated by expatriates.
Turki Al-Kinani, an economist, called on the Commerce Ministry to intensify its efforts to deport illegal expatriates. He said the ministry was responsible for controlling prices.
He said officials should crack down on retailers who have raised their prices recently because of labor shortages, and for consumers to boycott businesses if prices are too high.
Musleh Al-Zayidi, a property expert, said the inspection campaign would prevent workers from offering their services on an hourly basis, and expose cover-up operators.
He said the campaign would reduce crime and fraud and prevent the remittance of millions of riyals from the Kingdom. He said private company owners would start to employ more Saudis, property prices would go down, and markets and streets would be less congested.
Al-Zayidi said it was the Commerce Ministry’s responsibility to monitor markets, control prices and penalize offenders.
Abdulrahman Al-Ghanimi, a construction industry investor, said the cost of doing business had risen by 15 to 20 percent because of previous changes in the labor market, including the SR2,400 annual fee for each expatriate worker exceeding the government’s Saudization quota. However, the deportation of a million workers has affected the industry.
Abdulaziz Al-Aslani, a citizen, urged the ministry to take action against those raising prices, particularly now that there are fewer expatriate workers. He also called on merchants not to manipulate the market.
He said government agencies should continue their raids because illegal workers were given a chance to rectify their status. He said the government should penalize those trying to sabotage the campaign.


Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

  • Capital gets a facelift as Vision 2030 program works to plant 7.5 million trees
  • Most of the tree species used in the project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care

RIYADH: The Green Riyadh project, one of the world’s largest urban greening initiatives, is rapidly bearing fruit as it transforms main roads in the capital.

Major thoroughfares, including King Khalid, Makkah and King Salman roads, are getting a facelift as part of the Vision 2030 goal of improving quality of life in the city.
Dr. Fahad Al-Mana, a professor of Ornamental Plants, Gardens and Green Areas at King Saud University, told Arab News that native tree species being used for the project include Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia gerrardii and Prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the ghaf tree.
According to Al-Mana, the trees can survive in harsh desert conditions and will grow without intensive agricultural care.
“Most of the tree species used in the planting of the Green Riyadh project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care,” he said.
Environmental conditions in Riyadh were taken into account during the tree selection process. The species can grow to a large size in only three years.
“In some locations, they have moved large 3-year-old local trees that were taken care of in plant nurseries to new locations where they are growing successfully,” Al-Mana said.
Green Riyadh will increase the amount of greenery in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around the city’s main features and facilities.
The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

FASTFACTS

• The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

• The project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.

• Green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030

“The aim of planting trees in the streets is to provide shade and moderate the temperature, especially in summer, which contributes to the purification of air and reduces environmental pollution by protecting the city from sand storms, winds and dust. In addition, it gives an aesthetic view and the element of nature enters the city and nearby structures,” said Al-Mana.
He added that trees, especially those planted in central street islands, must have long trunks and high branches to avoid hindering the movement of pedestrians and cars. The trunk must measure at least 3 to 4 meters and the size of the trees planted must be proportional to the width of the island.
Al-Mana said green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030.
According to the Green Riyadh website, the project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per
day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.
Al-Mana said the Green Riyadh project will also reduce carbon dioxide and impurity levels in the city.
“Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides,” he said.