Saudi transport committee calls for reduced Saudisation quota

The committee’s chairman said there were not enough workers for companies to reach the current target



Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Land Transport has reportedly called for a reduction in the sector’s Saudisation requirements due to a shortage of workers.

Saudi Gazette cites committee chairman Bandar Al-Jabiry as saying that a labour ministry mandate forcing transport companies to give 15 to 20 per cent of jobs to Saudis was not realistic.

“Most land transport companies are ready to pay attractive salaries if the ministry supplies qualified Saudi drivers. Our efforts to attract Saudis to the sector have failed,” he said, arguing the sector was rejected by Saudis because of the difficulty of the work.

He added that many transport companies were experiencing “economic difficulties” due to the Nitaqat system, which prevents companies from processing expat employees or being granted visas for new workers until their Saudi quota has been reached.

Al-Jabiry said the committee would demand a review of the Saudisation rate, which he proposed should not exceed 5 or 6 per cent.

“We hope that the ministry would review the rate,” he said.

The official also criticised a recent increase in insurance premiums for transport vehicles approved by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.

“This will increase the financial burden on transport companies and will have its negative impact on end customers,” he was quoted as saying.

Al-Jabiry said the committee was negotiating with SAMA and is also in talks with a foreign insurance company to enter the local market, it was reported.

Saudi Arabia has recently been stepping up its Saudisation programme in an effort to employ more nationals in the private sector.

In its most drastic move in March, the labour ministry called for the entire mobile industry to be run by Saudi workers by a September deadline.