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Thanks to Hafiz, 300,000 Saudi women land jobs
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 01 - 2013

Ibrahim Eqaili
Okaz/Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH — The Labor Ministry was successful in employing 300,000 Saudi women in two years, according to Deputy Minister of Labor Dr. Mefreh Al-Haqbani.
This is because of the ministry's enforcement of the decision of limiting employment to females only in shops that sell women's accessories.
Efforts also included encouraging large companies, and implementing the Council of Ministers Directive 120 that shops in women-only closed shopping centers should be operated by females.
He said that the budget for Hafiz program, which provides unemployment allowances to Saudi job seekers, has increased to SR4 billion this year, compared to last year.
The new budget includes the construction of a new building for the ministry, and establishing new branches in various parts of the Kingdom.
The budget will allow implementing initiatives and programs designed to provide employment opportunity for both sexes.
He said that the Nitaqat Saudization program was successful in employing 400,000 youth of both sexes since its inception in August 2011.
It has also facilitated the transfer of expatriates from firms that have low Saudization rates to those with higher rates.
A new version of Nitaqat was launched to deal with low salaries of Saudis. A Saudi should receive a minimum of SR3,000 a month to be included in the Saudization count.
It also deals with part-time employment, employing the workable handicapped and ex-convicts.
Hafiz does not only provide financial support for employment seekers. It also provides for their training and supporting them to find work.
Females have most benefitted from Hafiz, as they accounted for 86 percent of the total beneficiaries.
Hafiz seeks to provide training and employment, while Nitaqat provides the channels for the private sector to employ Saudis.
An electronic employment site contains a database of available jobs, and allows work seekers to search for and find suitable employment opportunities.
The ministry has established a monitoring body in cooperation of many government bodies.
It will monitor and publish statistics on the employment market, the average salaries, employment of new graduates, and supply and demand of various specialties.
The ministry, with the participation of King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, has conducted a discussion on the working hours in the private sector. The discussion included businessmen and academics, and the recommendations were submitted for approval.
The ministry has signed an agreement with an international consultancy firm to define the strategies and procedures for employing the handicapped.
He concluded that the first phase of the customer service office is completed. The office will receive, monitor and follow up complaints and requests of the citizens, companies and organizations.

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