No strategic plan to cut expats: KSA

No strategic plan to cut expats: KSA
Mufrej Al-Haqabani. (SPA)
Updated 09 June 2016

No strategic plan to cut expats: KSA

No strategic plan to cut expats: KSA

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has no “strategic target” to reduce the number of foreign workers in the Kingdom as a way to cut unemployment among its citizens, the minister for labor and social development told a news conference on Tuesday.

Asked whether he expected the number of foreign workers to fall from a current level of about 9 million, Mufrej Al-Haqabani said: “There is no strategic target to reduce the number of working expatriates, and we don’t want to link reducing unemployment with expatriates.”
He added: “The presence of expatriates is very important for the economy.”
Al-Haqabani said that 1.3 million jobs would be available under the National Transformation Program 2020 (NTP), which would include adequate opportunities for local women too.
He said the NTP 2020 is an important stage in the nation’s development and carries an important methodology that contains many initiatives to benefit the country in the years to come.
Al-Haqabani said that the ministry’s initiatives focus on supporting the needy and creating special protection networks for each beneficiary in a family by providing maximum protection to them.
He said there are many jobs that can be exclusively handled by Saudis, while there are other categories where the country needs foreign expertise.
Al-Haqabani warned that the concealment of facts in the Saudization program would not fulfill the expectations of the government. “Such fake manipulations will result in the loss of job opportunities for Saudis in all parts of the Kingdom.”
He noted that the ministry is in the process of modifying the percentage of localization in the private sector to keep pace with the productivity rates and the payment of salaries of all employees. Those companies that perform well in these areas will benefit most from the Nitaqat program.
On Monday, the government released a broad economic reform plan that included state spending of around SR50 billion to SR60 billion ($13.3 billion to $16.0 billion) annually until 2020 on housing, transport, tourism, mining and many other projects.