No going back on Saudization plans: Al-Ghafis

MAKKAH — Minister of Labor and Social Development Dr. Ali Al-Ghafis has reiterated that his ministry will enforce the Saudization programs as planned and without delay, Makkah newspaper reported.

The ministry will not renege on any decision, he said during a meeting with the heads of chambers of commerce and industry in the country at the ministry’s offices in Riyadh.

A number of participants called upon the ministry to exempt the private sector from 100 percent Saudization, especially of certain jobs that are difficult to be filled by Saudis. They asked the ministry to form a committee to study any decisions thoroughly before they are announced.

Al-Ahsa Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Abdullatif Al-Arfaj said the ministry would implement all Saudization decisions on schedule despite the fact that it knows that some of the decisions would be tough for some sectors. The ministry believes that these decisions are healthy for the national economy.

“The heads of chambers said they were not against Saudization but have some reservations about the mechanism adopted by the ministry,” Al-Arfaj said.

“These mechanisms will have a negative impact on the private sector and cause many businesses to close down,” he said.

“Business owners have called upon the ministry not to Saudize certain jobs for the time being because there are no qualified Saudis to replace expatriates, especially in the construction sector. However, the ministry insisted that it will implement the decisions as planned,” he explained.

Many businessmen agreed that the ministry can Saudize the industrial sector but the sector will still need the expertise of foreigners, especially in certain areas that Saudis are not interested in. They asked the ministry to create a job bank for industrial jobs.

Al-Arfaj said the presidents of chambers are worried that some of the ministry’s measures and decisions might have a negative impact on the national economy and might delay the achievement of the government’s objectives.