JEDDAH: NADIM AL-HAMID
Published — Wednesday 20 August 2014
Saeed Al-Bassami, vice president of the National Transportation Committee at the Saudi Council of Chambers and Industry, has revealed that Saudization is one of the main challenges facing the surface transportation sector in the Kingdom.
Al-Bassami noted that the rate of Saudization in the transportation sector has not exceeded 5 percent, despite repeated calls from the Ministry of Labor to increase the percentage of nationals to 10 percent. He added that most Saudi employees working in the sector occupy administrative positions.
The official cautioned that an increasing number of small-scale investors are exiting the market, as they are unable to compete with the rising costs of hiring local labor, while other transportation companies continue to work in violation of the laws.
According to Al Bassami, the challenges of the Saudization system do not merely impact the transportation sector in the Kingdom alone, as they have far-reaching ripple effects.
“There are challenges finding enough employment to meet needs, even though more than SR80 billion has been injected into the sector,” he said.
“During the past Ramadan and Eid seasons, economic revenues increased as passenger and transportation activity flourished by 50 percent due to the large number of individuals traveling to and from the holy cities.”
The same season witnessed an increased demand for car rentals, he added, noting that the demand is expected to continue until after Haj season and with no increases in prices.
He pointed out that individuals working in violation of the regulations set by the National Transportation Committee are responsible for price hikes.