Experts: Fake Saudization poses threat to national economy

Economic expert Ihsan Buhulaiga said employers resort to fake Saudization to ensure that the company can continue to operate

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A number of experts warned against the rising number of fake Saudization cases because of loopholes in the Nitaqat program for the employment of Saudis in the private sector, Makkah daily reported.

Companies tend to get around the Nitaqat system in order to avoid penalties and suspension of services by the Labor Ministry by paying Saudi citizens money to claim they are employees.

Economic expert Ihsan Buhulaiga said employers resort to fake Saudization to ensure that the company can continue to operate without hindrance.

“They know if they do not meet Saudization quotas, they will risk losing a lot of services, such as recruitment of expatriate workers from abroad,” he said.

“I have no doubt about the ministry’s intention to Saudize the private sector but the rising number of fake Saudization cases can have a great impact on the national economy,” said Buhulaiga.

In his opinion, the fake cases have resulted in increasing the number of expatriate workers in the sector and reducing the productivity of Saudi workers, especially those who are used in such cases.

“The Saudi worker becomes ineffective and only waits for his monthly stipend, the only thing he cares about. He will not have any ambition and desire to develop himself and become active in society,” he added.

Economist Muhammad Al-Shumaimri said the ministry alone cannot control and prevent fake Saudization cases.

“Many Saudi young men and women have become lazy and don’t want to do any serious work. We’re back to square one because the ministry’s efforts to regulate the market and replace expatriates with Saudis have been wasted and proved to be ineffective. Things are not going the way the ministry has envisaged,” Al-Shumaimri said.

Economist Muhammad Al-Omran believes the solution for the problem is to ensure the enforcement of laws and regulations laid down by the authorities.

“We don’t need new laws as much as we need the will to ensure existing laws and regulations are applied. Before a law is enforced, it should be studied to prevent anyone who wants to get around it from abusing the system. There should be strict penalties for violators,” he said.

The number of young Saudi men and women who take monthly salaries and do nothing has been on the increase. In many cases, Saudis negotiate their salaries with employers and demand high amounts for essentially doing nothing.

Hussain Al-Nami, businessman, said he prefers to hire Saudi men and women who are serious about their work.

“Unfortunately, the majority of Saudis are not interested in work and this fact has made many employers hire them just to meet Saudization requirements. They are just buying their names,” Al-Nami said.

A version of this article was published in the Saudi Gazette on Jan.11, 2015.

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