Feminisation drive costs $213m to Saudi firms
Riyadh, March 11, 2014
Saudi Arabian businesses have lost an estimated SR800 million ($213.3 million) because of the government’s feminisation programme, said a report.
The claim comes as the Ministry of Labour launched the third phase of this programme and said it would punish those failing to employ Saudi women, said the Arab News report.
The third phase would cover shops selling women’s perfumes, maternal care goods, shoes, vanity bags, readymade dresses, women’s clothing and dressmaking materials.
About 25 per cent of small and medium-sized shops have closed down, while many others are considering pulling out of the market, Mohammad Al-Shahri, chairman of the JCCI’s textile and clothing committee was quoted as saying.
The businesses were closed because of high costs, including the expense of employing women for two shifts at double the salaries of expatriates, rising rents and the levy imposed on companies under the Saudisation programme, he said.
The committee members and merchants are not opposed to the feminisation program but have found it difficult to implement it, resulting in losses, he pointed out.
It is estimated that 25 per cent of small and medium companies make up 80 per cent of the market for female clothing, said the report.
The Labour Ministry should have discussed the programme with businesspeople before introducing it, to give them enough time to express their views and concerns, said Al-Shahri.
Mahmoud Maqsood Khan, an investment and human resources consultant in the Gulf region, said the ministry had published its proposals on feminisation on its portals, ‘Bawaba’ and ‘Together,’ for businesspeople to consider.