Crown Prince Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, has urged business leaders to support the government's efforts to eradicate unemployment by creating more job opportunities for young Saudi men and women in their companies.
Prince Naif made this comment while receiving Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, President of the Council of Saudi Chambers Abdullah Al-Mubti and heads of 28 chambers of commerce and industry in various parts of the country.
During the meeting, Prince Naif underscored the remarkable progress achieved by the Kingdom's commercial and industrial sectors. "There should be greater cooperation between the Commerce and Industry Ministry and chambers to boost growth and create more jobs for young Saudis," the crown prince said.
Defense Minister Prince Salman backed the crown prince's directive to the business leaders. "When we employ our youth with the support of businessmen, we can get rid of a large number of foreign workers," Prince Salman said, expressing hope that the businessmen would realize the state's aspirations.
The defense minister also sought the businessmen's support in developing a culture of work among young Saudi men and women. "We should encourage our youth to work in order to achieve self development and earn money required for a decent living."
Al-Rabiah and business leaders congratulated Prince Salman on his new appointment and thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for selecting the right man for the right place. Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Al-Mubti commended Prince Salman's long-standing experience as an able administrator.
He said the private sector is honored to work for the Kingdom's military and defense sector. "We appreciate your efforts to provide opportunities to the private sector in military industries and imports," Al-Mubti said and noted the wholesome coordination between the Defense Ministry and the Council of Saudi Chambers.
Unemployment is one of the major problems facing Saudi Arabia. In February 2011, King Abdullah set up a high-level ministerial committee to find a quick solution for the unemployment problem and make proposals on how to create jobs for the growing number of graduates in the public and private sectors.
More than 2 million people have applied for the SR2,000 unemployment allowance offered by the Labor Ministry. About 700,000 people have qualified for the allowance, 70 percent being women, said the director of the Human Resource Development Fund.
In a previous statement, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih said his ministry would launch 30 new initiatives to create jobs for the increasing number of Saudi university graduates. Addressing prominent businessmen and executives in the city, he said the new initiatives would include efforts to develop the skills of Saudi workers, informing the private sector about qualified Saudi jobseekers and opening new employment opportunities for women.
Abdul Aziz Al-Sorayai, chairman of the Industrial Committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the private sector would do everything possible to solve the unemployment problem.
“We consider it our national duty,” Al-Sorayai told Arab News when commenting on the statements of Prince Naif and Prince Salman. “We have taken a lot of measures to increase job opportunities for Saudis in the private sector,” he added.