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Monday , September 20 2021

‘Exodus of expatriates … a new reality we must be prepared for’

‘LOCAL newspapers recently referred to the report of the global credit rating agency (S&P Global) which stated that the Gulf labor markets, especially Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman, will be negatively affected by exodus of expatriate workers, due to the economic repercussions of the ‘Covid-19’ crisis with the simultaneous fall in oil prices and its impact on the budget of countries with ever-increasing deficits,” columnist Dr Modhi Al-Humoud wrote for Al-Qabas daily.

Dr Modhi Al-Humoud

“In both countries, the private sector will be the most affected by this exodus especially due to the increase in the gap in skills and number between expatriates and citizens, the latter who are less interested in the private sector.

“No one denies the role of expatriate workers and their contribution to the Kuwaiti labor market, and we cannot underestimate the impact of the exodus of this labor whose number was recorded by the competent authorities, which amounted to approximately 84,000 within three months only and that will have negative effects on all economic sectors, and it may also pose a threat to the continuation of some work that needs these skills, but it is a reality that must be adapted to, and it may be an opportunity if we look at the matter from another angle to implement some government policies to modify the demographic composition, which has remained a mirage until this moment, and we recall here the announcement of the Prime Minister in his press conference on June 3, 2020, that the government decided to amend this composition from 69 percent of expatriates to 30 percent compared to 70 percent of citizens.

“We predicted the difficulty of achieving this, but the events and the continuation of the pandemic may impose a reality that we must be prepared for, especially in our societies in which young people make up the majority of citizens, and where higher education institutions are pumping thousands of graduates into the labor market, and queues of those waiting for a job increase every year.

“All of this, of course, needs serious government interventions and policies to localize the labor market, as it is difficult for the private sector to attract citizens at a time when the gap between wages in this sector and the government sector is increasing, especially with the high financial cadres of some categories of government workers.

“It is also difficult to achieve the required balance due to the government’s failure to market the ‘strategic alternative’ to wage and salary categories, and the failure to extend safety and security nets for citizens working in the private sector, as is the case in neighboring countries.

“We need to solve our deep economic crisis not by a quick withdrawal from reserves but by an integrated program of reform based on clear foundations to rationalize expenditures, restructuring inflated government agencies and departments, approving a strategic alternative for financial rewards to government jobs, creating new job opportunities for young people, and recovering what has been taken from mismanagement of public funds, all according to an announced timetable agreed upon by the two authorities so that we can save our present and the future of our generations.” — Compiled by Ahmad Al-Shazli

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