Minister of Labor Adel Fakieh receives a bouquet of flowers at Okaz headquarters in Jeddah, Saturday. Muhammad Al-Fal, Okaz Deputy Editor-in-Chief, was among those who received the minister. — Okaz photo
JEDDAH — Since its implementation 10 months ago, the Nitaqat Program has created 380,000 job opportunities in the private sector, said Adel Fakieh, Minister of Labor, Saturday during a dialogue session at Okaz headquarters.
“This figure is 20 times what had been previously achieved over the past five years before Nitaqat was introduced,” he said.
The minister also announced that a new program called “Jahiz” or “Ready” will be launched and will create job opportunities for Saudi students who have just finished their scholarship programs abroad and returned home.
Speaking to an audience of businessmen, intellectuals and media persons, Fakieh said the Nitaqat Program does not aim to cause harm to any private sector company or business. The program encourages the private sector to hire Saudis and categorizes companies into four zones: Excellent, green, yellow, and red, he explained.
Companies in the excellent and green zones will be rewarded while those in the red zone will be dealt with strictly and will be required to meet Saudization quota, he added. Companies in the yellow zone will be given a grace period to meet the required percentage.
Establishments will be assessed by comparing them to others in the same field who have achieved the required percentage. The program divides the market into 45 business activities; each activity is divided into five categories.
“That means we have 225 categories, each one consisting of a group of establishments with the same line of work and the same size. The criteria used in assessing similar establishments are fair and do not do injustice to anyone,” the minister said.
“We found that half of the establishments have achieved acceptable Saudization percentages, so we put them in the green zone while the few establishments that didn’t meet the Saudization criteria were put in the red zone,” he said.
Each Saudi part-time worker will be counted as “half a worker”.The part-time worker will not be counted in Saudization percentage for more than two enterprises. The same will apply to students who work in the private sector, and who should not constitute more than 10 percent of the entire number of staff. Restaurants are allowed to hire Saudi students to a maximum of 25 percent of the entire staff.
People with disabilities employed by companies will be credited as four Saudi workers provided that their monthly salaries should not be less than SR3000. If the total number of Saudi workers with disabilities exceeds 10 percent of the entire number of Saudi staff, the workers will be counted as any healthy Saudi worker. — Okaz/SG