Deployment of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia to drop — Philippine labor chief

Saudi Arabia was the leading country of destination among Overseas Filipino Workers in 2017, Philippine government data show. Above, OFWs in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 26 October 2018

Deployment of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia to drop — Philippine labor chief

DUBAI: The Saudi government’s efforts to employ its nationals is impacting on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to the kingdom, the Philippine labor chief has said.

“Hiring of Filipino workers (in the kingdom) may possibly drop by 20 to 30 percent this year because of the Saudization program,” according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, as reported by local daily Philippine Star.

The labor official described his recent trip to the kingdom, wherein he said he could hardly find OFWs at malls and terminals, which used to teem with Filipino salesclerks and other workers.

Bello however stressed there would be no mass displacement of OFWs in the kingdom because Saudi nationals still prefer to hire Filipinos.

“It’s not displacement, it’s more on non-deployment. Those who are already (employed) won’t be affected because (Saudis) really prefer Filipinos over other nationalities,” Bello said.

Gulf states largely have been dependent on expatriates to power their economies, and a 2013 study has shown that almost half of Saudi Arabia’s workforce are foreign workers. The scenario is much worse in Qatar where 95 percent of its labor force are non-nationals; in the UAE with a 94 percent expatriate labor complement; 83 percent in Kuwait; 71 percent in Oman; and 64 percent in Bahrain. The Gulf governments have implemented their own labor nationalization schemes to absorb more of their citizens and curb unemployment, albeit at higher public costs.

For one, Kuwait’s public sector is on track to achieve a 100 percent Kuwaiti workforce but it could be at the expense largely of the Egyptian and the Filipino communities.

The Philippine government however is looking for alternative destinations for OFWs that would be affected by the labor nationalization programs of the Gulf countries, Bello said, noting that Germany and Israel were being considered.


Turkey on brink of recession as economy collapses

Updated 13 August 2020

Turkey on brink of recession as economy collapses

  • Consumer debt has increased by 25 percent to more than $100 billion in the past three months

JEDDAH: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity is plunging in lockstep with Turkey’s collapsing economy and the country is on the verge of a potentially devastating recession, financial experts have told Arab News.
The value of the Turkish lira has fallen to 7.30 against the US dollar and the central bank has spent $65 billion to prop up the currency, according to the US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Consumer debt has increased by 25 percent to more than $100 billion in the past three months as the government moved to help families during the coronavirus pandemic, but the result has been a surge in inflation to 12 percent.
With the falling lira and increased price of imported goods, the living standards of many Turks who earn in lira but have dollar debts have fallen sharply.
The economy is expected to shrink by about 4 percent this year. The official unemployment rate remains at 12.8 percent because layoffs are banned, although many experts say the real figures are far higher.
To complete the perfect storm, tourism revenues and exports have been decimated by the pandemic, and foreign capital has fled amid fears over economic trends and the independence of the central bank.
Wolfango Piccoli, of Teneo Intelligence in London, said logic dictated an increase in interest rates but “this is unlikely to happen.”
Piccoli said central bank officials would strive to avoid an outright rate hike at their monetary policy meeting on Aug. 20. “A mix of controlled devaluation and backdoor policies, such as limiting Turkish lira’s liquidity, remains their preferred approach,” he said.
There is speculation of snap elections, and Erdogan’s view is that higher interest rates cause inflation, despite considerable economic evidence to the contrary.