Construction boss calls for help with Saudi Nitaqat scheme

Al Rajhi Building Services executive says ‘major challenges’ remain in finding qualified Saudi nationals

PHOTO: From April 20, the quota for recruiting Saudi nationals for big groups and conglomerates will rise to 66%. Credit: Shutterstock

Saudi Arabian authorities need to do more to assist companies in meeting quotas for recruiting nationals, the boss of a major construction firm says.

The Nitaqat scheme requires that companies operating in the Kingdom employ a certain quota of Saudi nationals, in a move that has caused deep concern in the construction sector.

Ahmed Al Bassam, chief executive of the building services sector of Al Rajhi Holdings, said he backs the Nitaqat initiative – but conceded that there are still some major challenges that need to be addressed.

He called on Saudi Arabian authorities to assist companies facing challenges in recruiting more Saudi nationals.

“We’re continuing with our HR strategy of attracting and retaining a qualified Saudi Arabian workforce in the Saudi market place. The initiative is a good one and it has its advantages. However, there are clear issues that are creating major challenges. We urge the authorities to look at them, in order to not leave corporations alone to face these challenges,” Al Bassam said in an interview with Big Project ME.

Al Bassam’s comments follow concerns raised by several other commentators over the difficulties of new ‘Saudisation’ quotas being introduced by the Labour Ministry.

From April 20, the third phase of the Nitaqat programme will take effect, with quotas for big firms set to increase from 25% to 41% – the same as the retail and wholesale trade sectors. Meanwhile, big groups or conglomerates will see their quotas rise from 29% to 66%.

“The ministry’s announcement has caused deep concern among companies because of a lack of qualified Saudi workers to fulfill the Nitaqat conditions during the specified period,” said Ibrahim Batterjee, chairman of the industrial committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), in a report by Arab News.

Batterjee said the implementation of Phase 3 of the Nitaqat program for downstream industries is one of the main problems facing businesses.


Most Popular

To Top