Fakeih, transporters at odds over Nitaqat

Fakeih, transporters at odds over Nitaqat
Updated 03 August 2012

Fakeih, transporters at odds over Nitaqat

Fakeih, transporters at odds over Nitaqat

Fifty percent of companies in the transport sector have achieved the required Nitaqat level, according to Adel Fakeih, minister of Labor.
Fakeih was responding to statements from investors in the transport sector about their inability to meet with the minister to discuss problems relating to the implementation of Nitaqat.
“The Saudization levels set by the Nitaqat program in each sector are determined by what can be achieved practically. More than 50 percent of the sector achieved the required levels, which means the remaining companies can also achieve them,” Fakeih said in a statement reported by Al-Eqtisadiah on Tuesday.
The Nitaqat program, the goal of which is to end the unemployment problem in the Kingdom, states that companies who fail to employ a satisfactory percentage of Saudis will find it difficult to continue operating.
The minister said their complaint lacked “accuracy,” referring to a previous meeting with transport sector members and with members of the national committee. He said he requested a report outlining the total number of Saudi employees to determine their Saudization level. Another meeting was held with their representatives in the Nitaqat Executive Council and a decision was made to split the sector into the intercity cargo movement sector and the intercity passenger transport sector, to make it easier to determine an appropriate Saudization level for each sector.
Fahd Al-Shoraie, deputy chair of the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said investors in the transport sector plan to submit a complaint against the minister to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The complaint states: “The minister refused to meet with them or to reply to letters requesting he look into losses suffered by transport companies following the implementation of the Nitaqat program.” Letters were sent to the minister from the chamber’s transport committee, the national committee and from other chamber branches.
In response, the minister said: “The Ministry of Labor is pleased to listen to its clients and about their participation in the decision-making process. The ministry doors are wide open to all,” he added.
“The ministry has a definite method of dealing with client observations of the Nitaqat program. It requests any sector with complaints to submit a report on the number of employees and prove the level determined by the ministry is impossible to achieve,” he said.
“The Nitaqat executive council will study the matter. If it finds the report accurate, it will make the necessary changes to ensure the Nitaqat program is flexible and realistic,” he added.
He said the ministry is working with the National Information Center to implement the new Saudization levels for the intercity cargo movement sector and the passenger transport sector.
Al-Shoraie said at one stage 50 percent of transportation activities had been brought to a standstill and many large transport companies were planning to switch to other sectors because of their inability to cope with the demands of the Nitaqat.
He said the difficulty of finding qualified Saudi drivers resulted in a loss of SR 200 million in the Eastern Province in one year alone and he fears this will increase, as trucks are lying idle.
“We are facing the death of the transport sector,” he said, blaming the unscientific implementation of Saudization.
“Seventy percent of our problems are related to Nitaqat regulations. We advertise for qualified Saudi drivers but none apply. We contacted the Labor Ministry and the Human Resources Development Fund but we still have no drivers. We have raised salaries and offer other perks but to no avail,” he complained.
He attributed the Saudi’s aversion to the job to the risks involved in it.