Nitaqat Failed to Curb Expat Remittances: Saudi



JEDDAH, Feb 02 – Foreign remittances of expats have risen to SR383.6 billion since the introduction of the Nitaqat nationalization program in 2011. Abdul Hameed Al-Omari, a member of the Saudi Economic Association, revealed this on Saturday.

This marks a 57.8 percent jump in foreign transfers compared to the previous 10 years, he said. “Expats should not be blamed for these transfers as it is their right.”

He added: “If we want to blame someone for the danger it has posed to the economy, it should be government departments, especially the Labor Ministry and big companies.”

He pointed out: “This indicates the ministry’s program was increasing per capita foreign transfers from SR9,200 per month in 2011 to SR10,437 in 2012 and SR12,330 in 2013.”

Al-Omari said the ministry’s efforts to discourage expats to bring families would increase foreign remittances further and reduce their spending in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, personal foreign remittances of Saudis and expats reached SR226.6 billion in 2013, the highest in 20 years, a local Arabic business daily reported, saying the amount was 16.5 percent more than the figure of 2012, when it was SR194.5 billion.

The report said foreign remittances of expats rose by 18 percent in 2013 to SR148 billion against SR125.2 billion in 2012. The hike coincides with an increase in Saudi imports, which amounted to SR841 billion in 2013 against SR807 billion in 2012, registering a 4 percent rise.

“Foreign remittances of non-Saudis for travel purposes decreased 74 percent to SR386 million against SR1.5 billion in 2012,” said the report. — Arab News

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