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.


Iraq pledges full compliance with OPEC+ oil cuts

Updated 08 August 2020

Iraq pledges full compliance with OPEC+ oil cuts

  • Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, the Saudi Arabian energy minister, and his Iraqi counterpart, Ihsan Ismail, reaffirmed their commitment to the cuts
  • Under tough economic pressure, Iraq had struggled to meet the full cuts, but Ismail promised to reach 100 percent this month

DUBAI: Iraq has pledged to meet in full its obligations under the OPEC+ oil production cuts that have been credited with rebalancing global crude markets after the mayhem of April’s “Black Monday” when prices crashed around the world.

In a telephone call between Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabian energy minister, and his Iraqi counterpart, Ihsan Ismail, the two men reaffirmed their commitment to the cuts, which have helped to pull the oil price back from historic lows.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, has more than doubled in the past three months.

Under tough economic pressure, Iraq had struggled to meet the full cuts, but Ismail promised to reach 100 percent this month. Iraq has now committed itself to an ambitious program of compensation to make up for past overproduction.

Iraq will further reduce production by 400,000 barrels per day this month and next, Ismail said, bringing its total cut to 1.25 million barrels daily. That level of cuts could be adjusted when final estimates of compliance are assessed by the six “secondary sources” that monitor OPEC+ output.

“The two ministers stressed that efforts by OPEC+ countries toward meeting production cuts, and the extra cuts under the compensation regime, will enhance oil market stability, help accelerate the rebalancing of global oil markets, and send a constructive signal to the market,” a joint statement added.

Prince Abdulaziz thanked Ismail for his efforts to improve Iraq’s compliance with the agreement.

Iraq had been the biggest laggard in the move toward 100 percent compliance by the 23 members of the OPEC+ alliance.

Officials in Riyadh told Arab News that Iraqi compliance had reached about 90 percent, a high level by the country’s previous standards but still short of the new targets.

Saudi Arabia has been forcefully advocating full compliance with the targets in an effort to remove oil from the global market as demand is still badly affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The oil market will be under the spotlight later this month when the joint ministerial monitoring committee of OPEC+ energy ministers convenes virtually in the most recent of the monthly meetings set up to oversee the state of the global industry.

Oil had another strong week on global markets, breaking through the $45 barrier for the first time since early March on signs that the glut in US oil stocks was easing, as well as reductions in the amount of “floating crude” stored in tankers on the world’s oceans.

The price spiked on news of the Beirut explosion, which some analysts believed could herald a deterioration in regional security and a threat to oil exports.

Brent crude was trading at $44.70 on international markets.