Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour has said that it requires SAR14.9 billion ($3.97 billion) a year to reform the Kingdom’s labour market and boost employment among locals.
“The resources are needed to finance the various stages of the employment strategy to ensure its continuity and success,” the ministry said in a statement.
The financial request has been submitted to the government and is being reviewed by experts, local daily Al-Madinah reported.
The Kingdom has been struggling to bring down the unemployment rate among nationals – estimated at around 11.4 per cent, with economists saying that just 30 to 40 per cent of the working age adults participate in the workforce.
However, the labour ministry says it has successfully implemented a short-term strategy to provide jobs for Saudi nationals.
Earlier this month, it stated that its nitaqat campaign, which penalises companies based on the percentage of its expatriate employees, has helped nearly 255,000 Saudis join the private sector.
Up to 1.4 million Saudis are now employed in the private sector, accounting for 15 per cent of the overall workforce, it said.
The government also implemented a stringent crackdown on illegal workers last year, which resulted in nearly one million foreign workers exiting the Kingdom between March and November 2013. The initiative reportedly resulted in the creation of 600,000 jobs for Saudi nationals.