By Andy Sambidge
Labour Minister says gov't will also sign deal with banks to monitor Saudi, expat salaries
Saudi Arabia, which had a 10.8 percent unemployment rate in July, will begin to pay unemployment benefits for the first time from November, Labour Minister Adel Fakieh said on Sunday.
The government from next year also will seek to encourage the hiring of more Saudi nationals in the kingdom’s private sector, Fakieh said in comments published by newswire Bloomberg.
The government plans to sign agreements with Saudi banks in 2012 to monitor the wages of Saudis and foreign workers to ensure nationals are earning salaries that increase in line with the cost of living, Fakieh said.
The Ministry of Labour in March initiated efforts to reduce unemployment and offset anger among citizens amid the “Arab Spring” demonstrations that have swept North Africa and the Middle East.
Separately, Saudi Arabia's Labour Ministry intends to launch 30 new initiatives as part of its drive to create jobs for Saudi university graduates, it was reported on Sunday.
Fakeih said they would include efforts to develop the skills of Saudi workers, informing the private sector about qualified Saudi jobseekers and opening new opportunities for women.
Fakeih made his comments while opening a workshop attended by delegates from companies in Premium and Green categories of the newly introduced Nitaqat system, Saudi daily Arab News said.
Other initiatives planned by the ministry are employment for people with special needs, incentives for working in
remote villages and regions and the development of the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF), it added.
Fakeih said he did not believe that Nitaqat was a total solution for the unemployment problem in the kingdom.
Last month, it was reported that more than 1.5m applications have been received from Saudi Arabian jobseekers over the past few weeks as the kingdom ramps up its new plan to find employment for nationals.
Fakeih said the list of Saudis waiting for jobs would be finalised in November.
Labour Minister Adel Fakeih, has undertaken a noble effort to help university graduates find suitable employment. This will not be an easy feat. I have said it before and feel the necessity to repeat myself. It is my humble opinion that we must screen students and help them select studies that will be of benefit to them upon graduation. Help our students learn what areas of the job market have placement opportunities. There is little sense in training and studying for bookkeeping if there is no need for bookkeepers, for an example. Student guidance in early school years is an essential tool for future success in the area of employment for our young and new graduates.
This is my humble opinion, and no disrespect is ever intended.
Dorothy Leiber of Ontario, Canada
Dorthy Leiber - Excellent suggestion but they will not understand. Sorry to say. I have lived there for over 10 years and I know the way they think.