Two Gulf Arab nations ban expats from specific areas of work in bid to push national workforces

Gulf governments continue in their push to increase the number of citizens in employment. (Shutterstock)
Updated 30 January 2018

Two Gulf Arab nations ban expats from specific areas of work in bid to push national workforces

DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian minister of labor has issued a directive identifying 12 types of retail store that only citizens will be allowed to work in as part of the ongoing Saudization project, state news agency SPA reported.
Minister of Labor and Social Development, Dr. Ali bin Nasser Al-Ghafees issued the directive on Sunday, which will take effect from September 2018, as the government continues in its push to increase the number of citizens in employment.
Ministry spokesman Khalid Aba Al-Khail said the jobs scheduled to be restricted to Saudis included outlets specializing in watch sales, opticians and medical equipment, building materials and home furnishings, car and motorcycle sales and parts, as well as cloth shops.
Al-Khail added that the ministerial decision also reaffirmed the commitment to ensure the employment of women in shops where it was deemed appropriate.
The move comes as Oman made a similar announcement this week temporarily banning the issue of residency visas for expats working in 87 job roles, in 10 different areas of employment, including IT, insurance, accounts and finance, sales and marketing, as well as information and media.
The decision in Oman is part of the country’s ongoing Omanization project aimed at tackling unemployment among its citizens by presenting employment opportunities exclusively for locals.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 09 August 2020

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

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Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.