Retailer welcomes new rules on Saudization for malls

Retailer welcomes new rules on Saudization for malls
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Updated 09 April 2021

Retailer welcomes new rules on Saudization for malls

Retailer welcomes new rules on Saudization for malls
  • Alhokair says it has worked in recent years to ensure we nurture and retain Saudi talent across the business

DUBAI: Saudi conglomerate Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. (Alhokair), one of the Kingdom’s largest retailers, has welcomed a new move by the government to fully Saudize the Kingdom’s shopping malls, creating more jobs in the sector for Saudi workers.

Human Resources and Social Development Minister Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi on Wednesday issued three new labor directives that are set to transform the country’s retail and restaurant sector, creating 51,000 jobs for Saudi men and women.

“We are pleased to see fresh Saudization initiatives for the retail sector. These efforts will create new and exciting opportunities for local talent, driving exposure to new sectors and upskilling a powerful section of the local workforce,” Marwan Moukarzel, CEO of Alhokair, told Arab News.

“In recent years, Alhokair has worked to ensure we nurture and retain Saudi talent across the business, and we look forward to extending this program into more parts of our organization. This is a milestone for local retail, reflecting positive change aligned with Vision 2030 and its targets for the private sector economy,” he added.

The news comes as the retailer moves forward with an ambitious expansion plan, aiming to open around 57 food and beverage outlets in the next 12 to 16 months, and at least another 50 retail stores in the fashion, cosmetics, beauty, and sports sectors.

Gulf governments, under pressure to provide more jobs for citizens amid declining oil revenues, are extending localization programs across industries that have typically relied heavily on expatriates.

The Kingdom introduced its nationalization scheme, Nitaqat, in 2011.

The first directive stipulated that only Saudis would be able to work in “closed commercial complexes (malls)” and their management offices.

A limited number of roles would be exempt, but the ministry did not specify which ones.

The other rule changes were related to raising the number of Saudis working in the restaurant, cafe, and catering trade.

The statement did not specify what the new localization rates would be across these sectors.

This is the latest government move to boost the number of Saudis in the workforce. In February, it introduced restrictions on outsourcing customer care services to foreign call centers. The previous month, Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudi minister of transport and chairman of the Public Transport Authority, approved 100 percent localization of ride-hailing services. Other Saudization initiatives announced this year include a goal of 30 percent nationals in accountancy, while a target of 20 percent was set for engineering in August 2020.

The population across the GCC declined by about 4 percent in 2020 due to an exodus of foreign workers spurred by subdued non-oil sector growth and nationalization policies, according to estimates by S&P Global Ratings. The departures were highest in Dubai, followed by Oman, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait. “The GCC’s high dependence on expat labor, especially in the private sector, has stymied its development of human capital in the national population,” S&P credit analysts led by Zahabia S Gupta wrote in a research report in February.

“The majority of the local workforce is employed by the public sector, which weighs on governments’ fiscal positions, especially in times of lower oil prices.”

Saudi Arabia has the lowest dependence on foreign labor among GCC countries at about 77 percent, while Qatar has the highest at about 94 percent, according to S&P data.


Price of oil surges past $80-a-barrel landmark

Price of oil surges past $80-a-barrel landmark
Updated 29 September 2021

Price of oil surges past $80-a-barrel landmark

Price of oil surges past $80-a-barrel landmark
  • OPEC urges investment in production

DUBAI: The price of oil surged above $80 a barrel on Tuesday amid soaring demand from global economies and increasingly tight supply.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, jumped past the psychologically significant landmark for the first time in three years, after five days of rising prices.
Oil analysts believe the surge could have a long way to go. Christyan Malek, head of oil and gas at US bank JP Morgan, told Arab News: “The bull case suggests that oil could hit more than $100 a barrel by 2023, though it could reach that level within the next six to 12 months.”
Another US banking giant, Goldman Sachs, this week forecast a price of $90 a barrel for Brent by the end of this year.
Oil has risen in price by more than 90 percent over the past year as the output strategy of OPEC+ — the oil alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia — drained the global oil glut that depressed prices in 2020.
Global crude inventories that ballooned during the pandemic have shrunk to their lowest levels since January 2020 as the biggest oil consumers, the US and China, fuel their recovery.
Several other factors are also behind the recent run. Robin Mills, chief executive of consultancy Qamar Energy, said it was down to “gas shortages and revived demand colliding with US hurricanes and maintenance delays.”
Adding to the upward pressure on prices, oil demand will grow sharply in the next few years as economies recover from the pandemic, OPEC forecast in its World Oil Outlook published on Tuesday.
“Energy and oil demand have picked up significantly in 2021 after the massive drop in 2020,” OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said. “Continued expansion is forecast for the longer term.”
Oil use will rise by 1.7 million barrels per day in 2023 to 101.6 million bpd, OPEC said, adding to robust growth already predicted for 2021 and 2022, and pushing demand back above the pre-pandemic 2019 rate.
The organization said the world must continue investing in oil production to avert an energy shortage, despite the transition to renewables. Upstream oil capital spending dropped by nearly 30 percent to about $240 billion last year because of the pandemic.
“It is clear that underinvestment remains one of the great challenges for the oil industry,” Barkindo said. “Without the necessary investments, there is the potential for further volatility and a future energy shortfall.”
Nevertheless, OPEC is upbeat about its prospects. “Oil is still expected to retain its No. 1 position in the energy mix,” Barkindo said.


Saudi stock market continues upward momentum

Saudi stock market continues upward momentum
Updated 28 September 2021

Saudi stock market continues upward momentum

Saudi stock market continues upward momentum

RIYADH: The Saudi stock market ended Tuesday’s session in the green zone for the third consecutive session, amid broad gains for Saudi Aramco shares, which coincided with oil prices recording their highest levels since October 2018.

The Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.12 percent to close at 11,382 points.

Liquidity in the main market amounted to about SR8.9 billion.

The Saudi Aramco stocks also managed to record a 33 percent rise in its market price since March 2020, while the shares recorded gains of more than 3 percent since the beginning of this year.

SABIC's share also continued its gains for the third consecutive session.

On the other hand, STC shares fell 1.6 percent for the fifth consecutive session.

The parallel market index Nomu ended Tuesday’s session with a slight decrease of 5.25 points, or 0.02 percent, compared to the previous session, and closed at 23918.12 points. The liquidity amounted to about SR88.1 million.


Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap

Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap
Updated 28 September 2021

Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap

Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap

RIYADH: Bitcoin traded lower on Tuesday, falling by 4.21 percent to $41,503.71 at 6:58 p.m. Riyadh time, while Ether slipped down by 7 percent at $2,844.81, according to data from CoinDesk.

Crypto exchanges are increasingly running into resistance from local regulators, who want to be able to monitor their operations better.

Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said on Monday that users in Singapore would no longer be allowed to buy and trade cryptocurrencies on its main platform, to comply with local regulation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore this month warned Binance.com that it could be in breach of local laws and should stop providing payment services to the city-state's residents.

From Oct. 26, users in Singapore will no longer be able to deposit fiat currencies, or buy or spot-trade cryptocurrencies on the platform.

In recent months, regulators in Britain, Italy and Hong Kong have said Binance units are not authorized to carry out some activities in their markets, and Malaysia’s financial regulator reprimanded the exchange for operating illegally there

 

Deposit

While cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said its customers in the US will be able to use the direct deposit service for any percentage of their salary. They can also hold their dollars in dollars or instantly convert them into cryptocurrencies without fees.

“With direct deposit, customers can more easily access our crypto-first financial services and be ready for any trade or purchase,” Max Branzburg, vice president of product at Coinbase, said in a blog post.

“We’re determined to deliver the most trusted full suite of crypto-first financial services to our 68 million users.” 

 

Extreme views

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has spoken out about his stance on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, stating that anyone who borrows money to buy bitcoin is, in his opinion, a fool.

However, Dimon also acknowledged that there is a potential for the crypto sector to increase its value tenfold in the next years.

"I am not personally interested in bitcoin and am not a buyer. This does not mean that the price of Bitcoin cannot reach 10 times its price today in the next five years,” Dimon said in an interview with the Times of India.

 

Long road ahead

Anthony Scaramucci, CEO of Skybridge Capital, believes that there is still a long way to go for institutional investors to embrace bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.

He stated in an interview with Bloomberg that according to his experience, most institutions are still not interested in cryptocurrency as an investment and only 10 percent are actively investing in cryptocurrency. While this may be a minority, it is a minority that has some influence.

“The institutions are not there. Anybody who’s telling you there’s institutional adoption into this space is not being totally honest or they’re seeing something that I’m not seeing,” Scaramucci said.


Saudia wins World’s Most Improved Airline award for 2021

Saudia wins World’s Most Improved Airline award for 2021
Updated 28 September 2021

Saudia wins World’s Most Improved Airline award for 2021

Saudia wins World’s Most Improved Airline award for 2021

RIYADH: Saudia has won the Skytrax award for the World’s Most Improved Airline for 2021, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

This award reflects an airline’s quality improvement in different areas. The Saudi airlines ranked 26 jumping 31 places in one year.

The national carrier earned this title for the second time. It first won the award in 2017. 


EV Metals partners with Yanbu Royal commission to build $900m battery chemicals complex

EV Metals partners with Yanbu Royal commission to build $900m battery chemicals complex
Updated 28 September 2021

EV Metals partners with Yanbu Royal commission to build $900m battery chemicals complex

EV Metals partners with Yanbu Royal commission to build $900m battery chemicals complex

RIYADH: The Royal Commission in Yanbu on Wednesday signed a $900 million investment agreement with EV Metals to establish and operate a factory for the production of electric battery chemicals.

The facility will be spread over 127 hectares and the investment volume is approximately SR3,375 million. The project is expected to create 494 jobs.