Engineering sector making strides to achieve Saudization targets

Engineering sector making strides to achieve Saudization targets
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Several sectors have recently had regulations issued related to new Saudization targets, such as 100 percent for ride-hailing services and customer care call centers. (Getty Images)
Engineering sector making strides to achieve Saudization targets
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Omer Saleem, director and deputy CEO of Proven
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Updated 20 March 2021

Engineering sector making strides to achieve Saudization targets

Engineering sector making strides to achieve Saudization targets
  • Kingdom wants 20% of 117 engineering fields to be filled by Saudis, creating 7,000 local jobs

RIYADH: Creating employment for young Saudis and reducing dependence on foreign workers was a key long-term goal for the Kingdom’s government.

Recent data has shown that seven major job groupings in the private sector have achieved Saudization figures of more than 50 percent, demonstrating that the policy was producing the desired results.

While the rate across the private sector as a whole is around a quarter, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported that the financial and insurance sector had achieved a rate of 83.6 percent, followed by public administration, defense, and mandatory social insurance (71.9 percent), mining and quarrying activities (63.2 percent), education (52.9 percent), and information and communications (50.7 percent).

There was certainly demand among companies, as recently the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development reported that more than 500,000 firms had signed up on the new Qiwa platform, which provides a range of direct online services, including Saudization indicators and certificates, and information on various labor regulations.

Several sectors have recently had regulations issued related to new Saudization targets, such as 100 percent for ride-hailing services and customer care call centers, while 30 percent of all accountancy posts in the Kingdom must now be filled by Saudi nationals.

Proven, an outsourcing firm in Saudi Arabia, has been helping companies adhere to a new ruling that 20 percent of engineering posts must be filled by Saudis.

Omer Saleem, director and deputy CEO of Proven, told Arab News: “In partnership with the Saudi government, the Proven team has created a pool of Saudi nationals with engineering professions, which helped reduce unemployment, supported private sector jobs, and created opportunities for Saudi nationals with the right skill set.”

In August, the ministry announced the Saudization of 20 percent of the Kingdom’s 117 engineering fields. The plan was implemented from the beginning of this year and is forecast to create 7,000 positions for Saudi engineers, each with a minimum wage of SR7,000 ($1,866) per month, as per figures from the Saudi Council of Engineers.

The rule will apply to private establishments employing five or more engineering professionals. Operations with four or fewer foreign engineers will be exempt. Under the regulations, organizations violating the Saudization law could face hefty fines and risk losing out on government services.

In a bid to help private establishments meet the Saudization criteria, the government will offer support and incentive packages allowing them to recruit Saudi engineers, train them, and ensure career stability.

“There is a minimum requirement now for all firms deploying engineers to have a portion of their talent resource base to be Saudi. So, it will essentially create more jobs in the engineering space for locals,” Saleem said.

Proven has teams operating from four offices in the region. “We have 128 corporate staff at the moment and 72 are based in Saudi Arabia. We are looking to add one more office in the Western region with a small team. In addition, we are looking to expand our marketing, human resources, and client relationship teams in 2021,” he added.

On the cost of finding a suitable candidate, he said it depended on the sector and different roles. Saleem noted that there was a deep talent pool in human resources, ITC, and some oil and gas engineering professions.

However, he pointed out that certain specialized roles within healthcare, IT, and finance were challenging to fill because the talent pool maturity in these areas was still young and it took time for skill sets and expertise to develop from experience.

“There is a good, deep talent pool on the industrial side, but more needs to be done in the knowledge sector,” he said.


Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February
Updated 20 min 51 sec ago

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February
  • Bank deposit growth was the fastest since March 2020

RIYADH: Bank deposits in Saudi Arabia grew during February at the fastest pace since March 2020 as the economy continued to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Deposits reached SR1.96 trillion ($522.5 billion) at the end of February, an increase of 1.83 percent, the most since the previous March’s 1.92 percent gain, Al Eqtisadiah reported, citing SAMA data.

On an annual basis, bank deposits in Saudi Arabia increased by 10.2 percent, or SR180.47 billion. Individual and corporate deposits, which made up 74.6 percent of total deposits, increased by 9.8 percent year over year.

Demand deposits increased 14.2 percent to SR1.29 trillion in the 12 months to the end of February, making up 88 percent of total deposits with savings and foreign deposits accounting for the rest.


Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts
Updated 23 April 2021

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts
CAIRO: Egypt and Russia have agreed to resume all flights between the two countries in a call between their presidents, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s presidency said in a statement.
Flights to resort destinations Sharm Al-Sheikh and Hurghada were suspended after a Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai in October 2015, killing 224 people.
The Egyptian statement did not specify a timeline for the resumption of flights, but Russia’s Interfax news agency reported this week that flights could resume in the second half of May.
An Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, had been taking Russian holiday makers home from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in 2015, when it broke up over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all on board. A group affiliated with Daesh militants claimed responsibility.
The decision to resume flights followed “the joint cooperation between the two sides on this issue, and based on the standards of security and convenience provided for visits at Egyptian tourist destination airports,” the statement said.

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform
Updated 23 April 2021

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform
RIYADH: Egypt’s price-setting committee raised domestic fuel prices on Friday for the first time since it was formed in October 2019 following the completion of subsidy reforms, the petroleum ministry said in a statement.

Prices were last raised in July 2019 when Egypt, a net oil importer, finished phasing out subsides on fuel products as part of a reform program backed by the International Monetary Fund. Prices had remained stable over the past year after being lowered in April 2020 and October 2019.

The prices of 80-octane, 92-octane, and 95-octane fuel were raised by 0.25 Egyptian pounds each, to 6.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.40), 7.5, and 8.5 pounds per liter, respectively, the statement said.

The pricing committee’s mechanism links energy prices to international markets, and takes into account the exchange rate as well as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the statement said.

Egypt lowered fuel prices in October 2019 following several rounds of price hikes as part of an austerity program that triggered discontent, including protests against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Saudi share of Gulf economy rose to almost 50% in 2020

Saudi share of Gulf economy rose to almost 50% in 2020
Updated 23 April 2021

Saudi share of Gulf economy rose to almost 50% in 2020

Saudi share of Gulf economy rose to almost 50% in 2020
  • Saudi GDP contracted 11.8 percent to $700.1 billion in 2020
  • UAE GDP fell 15.9 percent to $354.3 billion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia increased its share of the GCC economy to almost half in 2020 as it weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than its neighboring Arab states.

The Kingdom’s made up 49.8 percent of the bloc’s economy in 2020, up from 48.4 percent in 2019, Al Eqtisadiah newspaper reported, citing data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Gulf statistical agencies.

Nominal gross domestic product (GDP) for the six GCC countries fell 14.3 percent in 2020 to $1.41 trillion, while Saudi GDP contracted 11.8 percent to $700.1 billion.

The UAE’s economy shrank 15.9 percent to $354.3 billion, representing 25.2 percent of GCC output.

Qatar had the third largest regional economy in 2020. It shrank 16.9 percent to $146.1 billion, representing 10.4 percent of GCC GDP.


Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases

Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases
Updated 23 April 2021

Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases

Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases
  • Consumers buy more than they need during Ramadan, traders said

RIYADH: Vegetable traders and wholesalers in Saudi Arabia have blamed over-buying by consumers for price rises during the first days of Ramadan.

Prices have now returned to normal after doubling in some cases following a flurry of purchases at the beginning of the holy month, they told Al Watan newspaper.

The increase in vegetable prices was limited to 6 or 7 local agricultural products, while imported product prices are fixed, they said. There is no shortage of vegetables in the Kingdom’s markets, they added.

“We witness the unjustified rush of consumers of double shopping that exceeds the actual need, every year with the advent of the holy month, not only for vegetables, but for various food products,” a vegetable merchant said.

A vegetable trader in the Kingdom said that citizens should maintain the usual consumption of vegetables in Ramadan to ensure the stability of prices. He said that most of the customers deliberately buy above their actual needs at the beginning of Ramadan, which causes increased demand and higher prices.

“The farmers and suppliers are the ones who set the price and cause it to rise when the demand from consumers increases, while our role does not exceed the disposal of the product with a small profit,” he said.

Consumers on the other hand accused traders, farmers and suppliers of unjustified price increases with the advent of Ramadan.