Saudi Arabia’s central bank has asked commercial banks to increase localisation of some functions as Riyadh pushes to move more of its citizens into jobs now done by expatriates, a banker in the kingdom said on Monday.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) sent the banks a circular in April giving them three months to list the types of jobs that could be reserved entirely for Saudis, he said.
In recent months Saudi Arabia has instituted tough new measures to tackle unemployment among local people by making it harder for private companies to employ some of the nearly 9 million expatriates registered as living in the country.
SAMA’s request to the banks is part of that effort and was first reported on Monday by Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat, which is owned by the family of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman.
The banker said the circular had suggested that 100 percent localisation was possible in some functions, including work in retail banking branches and human resources departments.
He added that Saudi employees already represented at least 86 percent of the workforce in most Saudi banks, which altogether employ around 50,000 people inside the kingdom.
SAMA was not immediately able to comment on the report.
The newspaper had earlier quoted an “informed source” as saying banks could increase their employment of Saudis by 95 per cent.