Official: One-fifth of firms fail to meet Nitaqat quotas

May 22, 2013

Al_Arabiya

Riyadh, May 22: Twenty percent of private sector companies in Saudi Arabia are not meeting quotas for the employment of nationals, despite a program aimed at boosting recruitment that launched two years ago, a labor official was quoted as saying on Monday.

Nitaqat, a government-led Saudization program, was launched with the aim of increasing the number of nationals employed in private sector companies and to help reduce the unemployment rate.

The Nitaqat program classified companies into blue, green, yellow and red categories according to their level of compliance.

Companies most compliant with Nitaqat’s regulations belong in the blue category, while companies with little or no compliance are classed as red. One-fifth of companies in the Saudi market are in still the red category, Ahmed Al-Humaidan, undersecretary at the Ministry of Labor, told Al-Eqtisadiah business newspaper.

Since launching Nitaqat, the Ministry of Labor confirmed the employment of 500,000 Saudis, thus improving the compliance of companies in the private sector.

The labor official said he was certain that companies will enhance their compliance and get out of the red category, in the face of penalties.

Companies in the red category face being banned from completing procedures such as the change of profession, transfer of visas, issuance of visas, and the opening of files for new branches.

These companies have a grace period of six months to improve their status, according to Nitaqat’s regulations.

Al-Humaidan confirmed that a Labor Ministry committee is looking into ways by which nationals can benefit from working in the maintenance and operation of public facilities.

This follows a decision by the Shoura Council, last October, which banned non-Saudis from working in such fields, unless the job was of a “special nature.”

The Nitaqat system states that business owners must provide regular and updated data on employment positions in operations and maintenance for public facilities, to gain the committee’s approval.

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News Network
May 20,2024

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Following the tragic death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage in a helicopter crash in northwestern Iran, the first vice president has taken charge as the interim president.

Iranian Constitution states that the first vice president takes over temporarily in the event of the death or major illness of the incumbent president for a period of 50 days.

Mohammad Mokhber, who served as President Raeisi’s first deputy since 2021, has taken over as the acting president for 50 days, in line with the constitutional requirement.

Holding a PhD in international law, Mokhber was born in the city of Dezful in the southern province of Khuzestan in 1955. He rose through the ranks to assume important social and political roles.

Mokhber, a vastly experienced executive manager who was chosen by Raeisi as his first vice president following the historic presidential elections in 2021, has impressed all and sundry with his work.

Raeisi won the mandate with a landslide election win in 2021, outshining all his key competitors, some of whom withdrew their applications and supported his bid.

Due to Mokhber’s years of experience in top managerial roles, especially as the president of the Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order (EIKO), also known as Setad, he was an automatic choice as Raeisi’s executive deputy.

Mokhber served as the head of Setad for nearly 14 years between 2007 and 2021. During this long period, his passion for social welfare, hard work and commitment to the revolutionary cause was something that made him a popular figure.

Among his works in Setad included the establishment of the Barakat Foundation, the Ehsan Foundation, and the production of the first Iranian COVID-19 vaccine, known as CONIRAN BAREKAT.

Before Setad, he served as the chairman of the board at Sina Bank, as well as the governor of southern Iran’s Khuzestan province. In both roles, he excelled.

Due to his work with Setad, he was placed on a sanctions list by the European Union in July 2010 and was taken off the list two years later.

Since 2021, he has been tirelessly working to implement social welfare schemes of the Raeisi government, working closely with people like the president himself.

Mokhber is likely to be one of the candidates when the new elections are held after 50 days.

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News Network
May 17,2024

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The United Arab Emirates has announced a 10-year Blue residency visa for individuals who have made exceptional efforts and contributions to protecting the environment.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who chaired the Cabinet meeting at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi formally approved this. 

He said the move comes in line with implementing the directives of President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who had announced 2024 as the Year of Sustainability.

The Blue visa will be granted to individuals championing sustainability and the use of modern technologies in promoting the circular economy, and other relevant fields.

Sheikh Mohammed said the sustainability of our economy has become linked to the sustainability of our environment, and our national directions in this area are clear and consistent.

He also approved the National Youth Agenda, among several initiatives, instructing the Minister of Youth to prioritise five key areas: empowering youth economically, developing their scientific skills, reinforcing their national identity, enhancing their community contributions, and activating their role in representing their country on the international stage.

CEO of Artificial Intelligence

The Cabinet has approved the introduction of the post of CEO of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all major federal entities, in line with the UAE's strategy to strengthen its position in AI.

“Today, we approved the introduction of the CEO of Artificial Intelligence role in all major federal entities, as part of the UAE’s strategy to solidify its position in the field of artificial intelligence,” the Vice President said.

The initiative aims to facilitate the integration of AI tools within these institutions, further advancing the transition toward a new era driven by cutting-edge technologies across federal entities.

University rankings

The Cabinet also endorsed a new framework for categorising higher education institutions across the nation. The forthcoming national rankings will assess over 70 higher education establishments based on the quality of their education, the employability of their graduates, the strength of their scientific research, and their collaborations with international scientific institutions.

The unveiling of these university rankings marks a significant stride in elevating the calibre of our higher education system and fostering transparency. It empowers families to make informed decisions, selecting the most suitable and exemplary educational pathways for their children,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“During the meeting, we were updated on recent advancements in our national space sector, with our national cadres now comprising 38 per cent of personnel engaged in global space projects. Additionally, expenditure on space research has seen a 14 per cent increase."

"Our commitment remains steadfast in guiding our youth towards promising and pioneering sectors while safeguarding our environment and adopting leading international technologies within our government. Concurrently, we are dedicated to enhancing our higher education systems, ensuring a brighter future for our youth,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

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News Network
May 20,2024

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State media in Iran have confirmed the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and companions after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed in poor weather in an eastern province.

With Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azarbaijan Gov. Malek Rahmati, East Azarbaijan Imam of Friday Prayer Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, and a few other leaders and bodyguards. 

The reports came after rescuers from the Iranian Red Crescent said they had found the wreckage of the helicopter, which was also carrying the country’s foreign minister and other officials, and that there was “no sign of life”.

Rescue teams fought through dense fog, blizzards and mountainous terrain to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province early on Monday, but state television gave no immediate cause for the crash. 

“President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash … unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead,” the Reuters news agency reported, citing an unnamed Iranian official.

Raisi, 63, was elected president on his second attempt in 2021, and since taking office, has overseen a tightening of morality laws, a bloody crackdown on antigovernment protests triggered by the death in custody of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, and taken a tougher approach to nuclear talks with world powers.

Last month, he ordered an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel, following an alleged Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus which killed 13 people including a top commander and his deputy.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power in Iran, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, some of whom turned out to pray for Raisi’s wellbeing, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

‘We found it’

Raisi was travelling home to Tehran when state television said his helicopter made a “hard landing” near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, some 600km (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital. Later, state media put the crash location farther east near the village of Uzi, but details remained contradictory.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was also on the flight, as well as the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish authorities released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be [the] wreckage of [a] helicopter”. The coordinates listed in the footage put the fire some 20km (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

Footage released by the IRNA showed what the agency described as the crash site, across a steep valley in a green mountain range. Soldiers speaking in the local Azeri language said: “There it is, we found it.”

Shortly after, state TV in an on-screen scrolling text, said: “There is no sign of life from people on board.” It did not elaborate, but the semiofficial Tasnim news agency showed rescuers using a small drone to fly over the site, with them speaking among themselves saying the same thing. The footage showed the tail of the helicopter and burnt debris all around it.

Under the Iranian Constitution, if a president is confirmed dead, Iran’s vice first president takes over and a new presidential election would be called within 50 days.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber already had begun receiving calls from officials and foreign governments in Raisi’s absence, state media reported.

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