Experts have expressed concerns that the Ministry of Labor’s decision to Saudize the telecommunication sector by 100 percent within six months would harm the industry, Al-Madinah daily reported.
Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Telecommunication and Information Technology Committee head Wahib Ghassan said many businesses in the industry might shut down as a result of the decision.
“The industry does not have many qualified Saudi technicians and is in need of the knowhow and skills of expatriates in the field of technology. The ministry has not studied the decision thoroughly and how it would affect different benefactors in the industry,” said Ghassan.
He also said the practical aspect of the decision was not clarified by the ministry and many businesses feel disoriented.
“The decision was abrupt and inconsiderate. The new Saudi graduates of the Technological and Vocational Training Corporation do not have the expertise of existing expatriates who are already working. The Telecommunication and Information Technology Commission should have the businessmen’s interest in mind and find a way to make the decision more just for them,” said Ghassan.
He said the commission should devise a gradual system that would guarantee suitable employment for Saudi technicians into the positions most fit to their skills.
“The corporation should increase the training period to give the participant more experience. The commission should evaluate and categorize the various businesses in the industry to determine which businesses need an amateur technician and which businesses need an expert technician,” said Ghassan.
However, Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry Telecommunication and Information Technology Committee member Haitham Buaishah said he supports the ministry’s decision as it will encourage more small and medium enterprises in the Kingdom.
“The industry will have a variety of services with innovative and competitive technologies. The decision will help mobilize the Saudi youth and the telecommunication and information technology industry,” said Buaishah.
A business owner in the telecommunication and information technology sector said the ministry’s decision was abrupt and not well-studied.
“If we are expected to have 100 Saudi employees then among that percentage will be Saudi women. Our businesses do not have a suitable environment for women employees at the moment. In addition, we need expatriates to train the new Saudi employees,” said the business owner.