Asia A. Aal Al-Sheikh
AN American study reported that the Saudi labor market loses SR2.9 billion every Ramadan due to reduced work hours and the long Eid Al-Fitr holidays. The figures attracted my attention and then I remembered a fact: Every Ramadan, food companies and traders, restaurants and advertising agencies make more profits than the expected losses cited by the study.
Moreover, the figure in the study is based on work hours and not productivity. That is to say, a worker can produce in four hours what another cannot in eight. Therefore, we should focus on productivity. If the majority feels fine about reducing work hours to six, it should not be a big deal.
It is true that some government officials use Ramadan as an excuse not to fulfill their duties. Also, some excuse themselves from work during the first two days of Ramadan; this year, 35 percent of officials did not show up during the first two days.
Occasionally, one encounters officials who use the “I’m fasting” excuse to absolve themselves of any responsibilities. Also, on often has to tolerate a short-tempered official who speaks impolitely to you just because he is fasting. Such people have forgotten that our religion urges us to be nice, tolerant and respectful of each other.
Financial losses have nothing to do with reducing work hours from eight to six or Eid Al-Fitr holidays.
The American study should have focused on how officials use this excuse in Ramadan to absolve themselves of duties and how such actions affect their performance.