A member of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has proposed the closure of individual pharmacies, grocery shops and launderettes in favour of neighbourhood commercial centres.
Dr Fahd Bin Mohammed Bin Jumaa, deputy chairman of the council’s financial committee, said these centres would allow Saudis to work near their homes and provide employment opportunities to female citizens, according to Saudi Gazette.
Some mothers expressed support for the proposal on social media, saying it would allow them to check on their children during lunch and prayer breaks.
Others also argued grocery shops would provide good opportunities for students to work part time during their studies, according to publication.
However, user Abu Layla suggested the focus should be on unemployed young Saudis rather than housewives, who could instead by provided with SAR2,000 to look after their children.
The kingdom is moving ahead with plans to ban foreigners from some jobs, including grocery store attendants, in order to decrease the Saudi unemployment rate.
In a report last week, the Institute of International Finance forecast the Saudi economy would contract 0.4 per cent in 2017 and stressed reforms would be needed to create new jobs in the kingdom.
Recent figures place the unemployment rate of Saudi citizens at 12.3 per cent.