Saudi businessman defends Saudization and controversial expat tax rise

Published:  22 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, UAE, Jobs
The controversy over the hike in expat tax levy for Saudi private companies has taken a new turn with a prominent Saudi business owner coming out publicly in favour of the tax increase.

Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel has defended the Labour Ministry’s decision and accused other Saudi business people of not understanding its objective of increasing Saudization. Jameel stated that the tax was common practice in many other world countries and that the government had given adequate notice of its intentions.

He continued that the sons and daughter of the land should be given their homeland’s jobs, rather than foreigners, adding that the large number of expat workers in Saudi and other emirates was not right. The increased labour fee, he said, would tighten the grip on businesses registered to Saudi nationals but controlled and run by foreigners.

Jameel said that the vast majority of expat workers in the kingdom had jobs considered unsuitable for Saudi nationals, and are earning low salaries, adding that the Saudization programme would create almost half a million new jobs for unemployed nationals. His theory is that increasing the tax will increase the status of the jobs themselves, thus attracting Saudi workers, hopefully upping their ratio in companies to 80 per cent.

Jameel, the chairman of ALJ Social Responsibility Initiatives as well as a business owner, said his company has spent fortunes during the last 10 years supporting and financing SMEs and family businesses. He added that, in the very near future, he is planning to create half a million jobs for Saudis both in the country and across the Arab world.
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