Government urges the private sector to increase its Kuwaitization rate

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Banks, industries, private companies discuss challenges in increasing Kuwaitization.

KUWAIT CITY, June 13: In a series of strategic meetings, officials from the Public Authority for Manpower engaged with representatives from various business sectors, including banks, companies, and the industrial sector, to assess the feasibility of increasing the rate of Kuwaitization. These discussions are part of a broader governmental initiative to understand the obstacles hindering the implementation of higher national employment targets.

According to sources revealed to Al-Rai, this initiative marks a shift in the government’s approach to Kuwaitization. Instead of unilaterally imposing higher quotas, the government is now soliciting feedback from the private sector to identify challenges from their perspective. This collaborative effort underscores a genuine governmental desire to listen and adapt strategies based on sector-specific insights.

During the meetings, no specific national employment targets were set. Instead, the primary question posed to sector representatives was: “What prevents you from increasing the Kuwaitization percentage?” This approach acknowledges the varying Kuwaitization percentages currently applied across different sectors.

Representatives from each sector provided detailed data on their current Kuwaitization levels and discussed potential opportunities and requirements for increasing these percentages. Sectors that fell short of the required percentages highlighted the challenges they face.

The banking sector, a key player in these discussions, emphasized its significant role as the largest employer of national labor in the private sector. Official data from the Union of Banks in Kuwait shows that last December, banks employed approximately 11,200 Kuwaitis, representing about 77% of total employees—exceeding the sector’s set percentage. Bank representatives noted the difficulty in further increasing this ratio due to a recent slowdown in operational activities. They stressed the need for sustainable projects allowing banks to absorb more national labor, highlighting the sector’s contributions to training and development in alignment with global banking industry standards.

The industrial sector also featured prominently in these discussions. Representatives from the Federation of Kuwaiti Industries pointed out the reluctance of Kuwaitis to join the industrial workforce, citing various challenges. These include the attractive benefits and job security offered by government positions, which the private sector struggles to match. Additionally, the technical and physically demanding nature of industrial jobs, coupled with cultural and social factors, deters many Kuwaiti citizens from pursuing careers in this sector.

The industrial sector representatives also called for greater support of local products, similar to policies in other Gulf states, to bolster the sector and increase national employment. They proposed establishing a committee under the Council of Ministers to study educational outcomes and labor market needs, ensuring that educational institutions produce graduates with skills aligned with market demands.

Furthermore, the Federation suggested incentivizing companies with high national employment rates through benefits such as contracts and exceptional services. They also recommended restricting entry visas for expatriates in roles that could be filled by qualified Kuwaitis.

There is a broad consensus among business sector representatives that launching development projects is crucial for increasing Kuwaitization rates in the private sector. They emphasized that any increase in national employment should be linked to sustainable development initiatives planned for the near future.

This series of meetings reflects a significant step towards a more collaborative and informed approach to Kuwaitization, aiming to balance government policies with the practical realities and needs of the private sector.

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