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No Industry Exempt From Nitaqat: Fakieh

Middle East : 08 March 2012

Source: Saudi Gazette

The Ministry of Labor will not exempt any economic activity and industry from the Nitaqat Program, unless there is convincing reasons to do so, said Adil Fakieh, Minister of Labor.

The minister was reacting to reports that private schools and agriculture will be exempted from the requirements of the program, the country’s recently introduced Saudization plan.

Fakieh was quoted as saying in Asharq Arabic newspaper on Monday that exemptions are possible but will only be granted on the basis of careful study of any such proposals.

“These are only proposals from committees which have to be discussed. It should be understood that these proposals will never be implemented unless they are thoroughly reviewed and proved to be worthy of being excluded.”

Moreover, he said it should be borne in mind that the Nitaqat Program has been implemented after a series of in-depth field studies and on the basis of precise statistics and calculations. In addition, the program

was reviewed several times by government, in collaboration with the private sector, before it was finally approved.

He said the ministry is open to further suggestions to improve the program.

Meanwhile, Al-Mohannad Abdullah Al-Haqabani, Undersecretary for Planning and Development, said the ministry is depending on three major programs to create 3.5 million jobs for Saudi citizens by the year 2025.

He said the ministry wants to attract investors, but not at the expense of domestic job creation.

The three programs are the Hafiz unemployment aid and training program, Nitaqat program, and the Labor Market Observatory, which will be launched soon.

The Labor Market Observatory, according to reports, will be a comprehensive database of 66 key labor market indicators which will help the government track and understand labor market statistics, performance, and outcomes. It is expected to be a key tool for fact-based decision making by both researchers and policy makers.

Al-Haqabani said the government has been able to accurately calculate the Kingdom’s unemployment figures, which is helping it to prevent a jobs crisis in the country.

Government has also been assessing the country’s education system and whether graduates have the requisite skills needed for the domestic market.

Added to this, the Wage Protection System will allow the ministry to make sure that employees are paid and ensure that employers sign genuine contracts with jobseekers. This program will allow workers to register complaints.

The Wage Protection System will also be effective in tackling tasattur, or cover-up businesses. “This is because the system is directly linked to the Social Insurance Organization and Nitaqat Program.”

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