By Gavin Davids
Government also in discussion with Saudi universities to designate diplomas to 'Saudis in need'
Saudis who wish to open small supply stores will be provided with start-up funds of SR200, 000 ($53,336) by the National Charity Fund, according to a report on Tuesday by Al Watan, an Arabic daily.
In an interview with the newspaper, Yousef Al Othaiman, Minister of Social Affairs, said that the approximate sum would be available to young Saudis from the beginning of next year.
“The scheme is in its final stages of preparation and negotiations are currently being carried out with a major commercial organisation to directly supply small stores with products, and for financial backing at the set amount during the setting up period of the business,” he said.
Saudis will also receive assistance from the Fund to obtain diplomas that are in demand in the job market. The minister said that discussions with Saudi universities were underway to designate diplomas to ‘Saudis in need’ for a period of two years in high demand fields such as accounting, information technology, marketing and insurance.
According to official figures quoted in the Saudi Gazette in April, Saudi Arabia's population will hit 33.5 million by the end of the decade, with 29.7 million Saudi nationals and 3.8 million expatriates.
Officials said that government training programmes would have to generate up to four million jobs to satisfy the predicted demand.