Thousands to benefit from extension of retirement age

Updated 21 May 2014

Thousands to benefit from extension of retirement age

The Shoura Council’s recent decision to extend the retirement age of civilian employees from 60 to 62 is expected to benefit an estimated 850,000 workers on the verge of retirement.
When passed, the bill will increase the revenue of the country’s pension fund, enabling the fund to provide greater privileges to pensioners.
“The bill, which was prompted by factors such as the increase in life expectancy and receding senility thanks to the country’s excellent health care system, aims to achieve several pragmatic social and economic goals that will benefit society members and the productive and service sectors,” said Hussam Al-Anqari, a Shoura Council member and architect of the bill.
Fuad Al-Boqari, former chairman of the National Retirees Association, said the extension of the retirement age will enable the government to benefit from existing manpower for the development of the country.
He added that the country would also vastly benefit from the extensive experience and expertise of long-standing employees.
The move will also make pensioners eligible for a higher pension amount at the end of their services.
“The Public Pension Agency (PPA) will also see a spurt in its revenue after this extension,” he said.
Fouzia Akhdar, chairwoman of the female National Pensioners Society, stressed the need for considering the interests of women workers alongside their male counterparts.
“A female pensioner should be aware of her legal retirement rights, which should be clear and transparent,” she said.
“Her legal heir should have the right to benefit from her pension in the event of her death, even if the heir were getting his father’s pension.”
“Female pensioners should also have their own special identity cards specifying qualifications, past jobs, age, social status and specialization, preferably in Arabic,” she said.
Akhdar demanded setting up service offices for women pensioners to obtain their rights hassle-free.
The PPA received 31,000 applications for early retirement in 2012, registering a 16-percent increase compared with the previous year.
She said that most of the workers who took advantage of the early retirement provision were women, while 8,000 women workers retired at the normal age.
Lt. Gen. Abdul Aziz Al-Henaidi, chairman of the National Retirees Association, said women accounted for nine percent of the 850,000 pensioners included in the private sector until the end of last year.
The highest number of retired women was registered in the Makkah and Madinah provinces, followed by the Eastern Province.
Around 76,000 women workers had retired in the Kingdom last year, he said.


Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

Updated 21 min 32 sec ago

Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

  • “There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” says Abdullah Al-Joghiman

DHAHRAN: Saudi portrait photographer Abdullah Al-Joghiman has a message for everybody: You are beautiful just the way you are.

If you don’t believe him, let him take your picture.

“Even if you’re not photogenic, or think you look bad in pictures, I can always turn your frown upside down,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is a full-time financial analyst for the Saudi Electricity Co., but allows plenty of time for his work as a freelance portrait and event photographer on the side.

“I started off doing landscape photography, but I love portrait photography more. Landscape photographers have to travel a lot, and I wasn’t able to commit to that lifestyle for many reasons. But since I was a child I’ve always loved taking pictures of people. There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” he told Arab News.

The 34-year-old was born in Al-Hofuf and now lives in Dammam, but his passion for photography has taken him all over the Kingdom and to other areas of the world.

Al-Joghiman at the 2018 Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai. (Supplied)

Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

“It was amazing, I met people from around 20 countries who came to take part,” he said. “It was a great experience.”

Completely self-taught, Al-Joghiman caught the photography bug at college and has been training himself ever since. “I’ve been dabbling in photography since high school, but I started taking it more seriously in college. I’ve been shooting professionally since 2012 or 2013,” he said.

Al-Joghiman started off humbly, with a camera-centric smartphone, but has since expanded his collection significantly, and now shoots with a variety of high-tech cameras from Sony. Now he is attracting interest from both local and international sponsors, especially in the gaming and cosplay areas.

“Cosplayers are kind of difficult to shoot because they can be perfectionists, but I love seeing the joy on their faces when they see the final pictures. That makes it worthwhile,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is happy that social restrictions on photography in Saudi Arabia are easing, allowing him to find more opportunities to do the work he loves.

“It’s difficult to take pictures of people here, especially strangers, but I can’t really blame them, considering that they are not really used to that in our culture. But things are changing and it’s much easier to be a photographer in Saudi Arabia now,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

Abdullah Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

He is grateful for the Ministry of Culture’s efforts to revive the Kingdom’s art scene, and has long hoped that photography will become more regulated in the country.

“The market for photography and videography really needs to be regulated. It’s hard enough putting a price on one’s work without scoping out the competition and finding that someone else is charging thousands for just a headshot when I’m doing shoots for two or three hundred,” he said.

“I love my work, and I’d love to be able to do it for free, but at the end of the day I still need to eat,” he said.

Al-Joghiman doesn’t want to limit anyone else’s opportunities but simply wants the playing field evened out a little.

“As a photographer, I just want a fair chance for everyone. More importantly, a client should know exactly what they are paying for,” he said.

His advice to young Saudis looking to become photographers is this: “If you pursue photography, don’t worry. Just do what you love, and if people tell you that they don’t look good in pictures, convince them by taking a picture of them.”

AlJoghiman’s work can be found on Instagram and Twitter (@finalecco), and on his website, https://www.eccofantasyph.com