The Shoura Council passed a bill stipulating Saudization of all operation and maintenance works in the public utilities sector at a regular meeting in Riyadh yesterday.
“The bill stipulates that no worker other than a Saudi should be employed in operation and maintenance contracts of public utilities unless the job is of a special nature and no skilled Saudi workers are available in that specialization,” Assistant Chairman of the Shoura Council Fahd Al-Hamad said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.
The bill also stresses that the owner or contractor of a project who has to appoint an expatriate for a skilled work should also appoint a Saudi as the expatriate worker’s assistant in order for the assistant to pick up the skill and replace the expatriate worker, the statement said.
“The bill also demands the preparation of a list of jobs in the sector of public utilities’ operation and maintenance in which Saudis are rarely found. The list should also be periodically updated,” Al-Hamad said.
This condition will also be linked to the issue of new work visas in the sector.
“Work visas and permits to employ an expatriate will be issued for such jobs only after the project owner or contractor agrees to a time-bound program to Saudize such jobs,” he said, adding that severe punishment will be meted out to any employer who violates the proposed regulation.
“The 18th clause of the bill specifies that a contractor who violates the regulation will be fined up to five percent of the value of his contract and/or his name will be blacklisted for five years in the operation and maintenance sector,” Al-Hamad said.
He added that the contract of a contractor committing the violation a second time before the two-year expiry of the first violation will be canceled. The contractor will also be held responsible for any financial loss being suffered by a project owner owing to contract cancellation.
Al-Hamad said the council also discussed the stance of the Islamic and Judicial Committee on the difference of views between the council and the Council of Ministers on the amendments to some clauses in the regulations dealing with procedures related to case defense in the Court of Grievances.
“The Shoura Council said the difference between the two councils was not fundamental but related to changes in the drafting style or in the addition or deletion of certain words.