Saudi Arabia’s minister of labour, Adel Fakeih, has postponed implementing new legislation forcing private companies to increase the proportion of Saudi employees at their firms, according to a report from Arab News.
The policy, known as Saudisation, has seen the percentage of Saudis in private employment increase from 7 per cent to 15 per cent, said Fakeih, while those earning less than SR3,000 (€738) had fallen from 49 per cent to 4 per cent.
The programme had come under fire from a large section of the business community. A daily loss of around SR4m (€984,000) was reported by fruit and vegetable traders at Jeddah’s main market after legal limits were placed on purchases by expatriates.
The market’s Saudisation has resulted in a marked decline in the number of expat buyers coming from across the kingdom to stock up on fruit and vegetables destined for hospitals, schools and hotels outside Jeddah.
The banning of expatriate traders has equally led to the emergence of a black market for fresh produce in Jeddah, further condemning Saudi traders to lost earnings.