Labor Ministry record scrutinized by Shoura

Mufarej Al-Haqabani
Mufarej Al-Haqabani

Labor Minister Mufarej Al-Haqabani. (SPA)

The Ministry of Labor’s actions in tackling growing unemployment among Saudis sparked a heated debate in the Shoura Council on Tuesday.

The discussion which was open to the media was on the ministry’s performance and accountability as opposed to a higher recruitment level for expatriates. Labor Minister Mufarej Al-Haqabani was present.

The phenomenon of absconding domestic workers, described as a grave social problem, was also discussed. This is the seventh consecutive year during which MoL annual reports have been hotly debated by the Shoura.

During the discussion, Al-Haqabani said that that the government sector still absorbed Saudis and that there were 9 million expatriates working in the private sector.

According to him the jobless rate in the country is 11.5 percent and the number of workers who have been employed through Hafez is 438,563 citizens, 60 percent of whom are women.

He also said in 2015 that the number of Saudis in the private sector reached 1.7 million workers compared to approximately 77,000 in 2011. The number of Saudi women in the sector rose to approximately 477,000 by the end of the third quarter of 2015.

According to some Shoura members, the reality of the labor market confirms that the ministry is far from its goal of tackling unemployment. The number of unemployed (men and women) stands at 651,000, representing a rise of over 11 percent.

The Shoura members stressed that employment plans have suffered due to neglect and a lack of coordination among government entities. The ministry also has not submitted monthly performance reports in line with the common practice in other countries.

Shoura members have warned of the risk runaway workers pose for national security. The figure mentioned in the latest ministry reports stands at 530,000 from the private sector and 86,549 domestic workers, which together constitute 60 percent of the number of recruited workers.


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