Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Members of the Shoura Council have slammed the recent Ministry of Labor decision to fine companies SR200 for each foreign employee not allowed by their Saudization quotas effective from the start of the Hijra year.
Members said the ministry is an executive body, not a legislative one, and does not have the right to increase or reduce any fees for its services without referring to legislative authorities like the Shoura Council.
They said the ministry should have referred such a decision to them so its implications could be studied properly.
The decision will have a negative impact on businesses, they added.
Shoura member Maj. Gen. Abdullah Al-Sadoun said: “As we are a legislative body, any set of fines suggested by the ministry should first be sent to the council so it can be studied and reviewed from all angles. “A specialist committee will first study the proposal before submitting its recommendations to the Council,” he said.
“This is because the approval or rejection of such decisions comes under its jurisdiction.
“We support the ministry in making any decision to improve the income of Saudi employees in the private sector by fixing the maximum and minimum ceiling of salaries.”
Khalifa Al-Dowsary, another Council member, added: “The ministry must give reasons and justification to these businessmen.”
“It should first explain the reasons behind such fees and refrain from taking such spontaneous decisions,” he said.
Al-Dowsary said such decisions should be implemented gradually in stages in order to avoid any negative impact.
Saudi society, Al-Dowsary claimed, would be the first one to be affected by such decisions because affected businessmen would pass on the cost of such fines to consumers.
He added: “Does the Ministry of Labor show any consideration with regard to the employment of Saudis or reducing the numbers of foreigners?
“The ministry always doesn’t show any tolerance in its decisions and as far as it is concerned, you either take it or leave it.
“This shows that it has no room for diplomacy when it makes its decisions.
“The ministry must differentiate between Saudization and foreign workers.
“Citizens have the right to be employed in decent jobs because the government spends a lot on their education and training.”
Opposing the ministry’s decision, Ahmed Al-Dhaylai, another Shoura member, said such fees give some greedy businessmen a reason to increase prices.
“I do not need to mention that this will not help in solving the problems with Saudization, but aggravate them,” he said.
“This decision, like many of the ministry’s decisions, will not solve the problem. Undoubtedly, this will produce lots of negative outcomes that the citizens will pay for,” he said.
Hamad Al-Qadi, another Council member, said it was better for the ministry to always study in-depth its decisions. “Otherwise its credibility could be undermined,” he said.