Shoura members say Social Affairs Ministry working below par

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The Shoura Council recently convened a meeting in which it addressed the issue of poverty, especially among the disabled, unemployed and divorcees. The discussion included recommendations and solutions to the problems by council members.

Members criticized the performance of the Ministry of Social Affairs, and urged it to assign a neutral body to conduct a comprehensive study on the ministry’s performance and offer suggestions to improve performance and build the capacity of the ministry’s employees to fight poverty.

Princess Moudi bint Khalid said that the statistical report presented by the ministry did not reflect the reality of the issues under study. She described the report as confusing and called on the Social Affairs Ministry to cooperate with the social service funds to eliminate poverty. She also pointed to the billions of riyals allocated to the ministry which she said did not reflect in the ministry’s achievements.

Abdullah Al-Otaibi called on the ministry to come out with a report about allocating its services to the field of caring for the disabled and about the standards followed. He suggested that the ministry cooperate with the Higher Education Ministry to provide a specialized cadre for implementing programs that cover the requirements of welfare and rehabilitation centers for the disabled.

Some services of social welfare housing did not reach the beneficiaries. This was pointed out by Abdullah Al-Harbi who stressed the importance of social welfare reaching all members of society. However, he wondered about the high numbers of employees of charitable societies which stand at 15,740 members, which is much higher than the number of employees in the ministry.

Chairman of the security committee Saud Al-Sbai’ said that there was limited data on issues related to divorce, domestic violence and child abuse. He stressed that it is important that studies are conducted to monitor social issues which impact society.

Hanan Al-Ahmadi criticized the ministry’s ability to deal with child abuse pointing out that according to the national register’s report, 12 children had died from child abuse which raised questions on the feasibility of the protection system. She recommended that the responsibility of protecting citizens from harm should be shared by a number of authorities which should hold to account those failing in their jobs.

Al-Ahmadi added that despite the efforts of the Ministry of Social Affairs to contain abuse in society, it was unable to achieve significant results. It was also late in drafting a protection strategy even though six years had elapsed since the Council of Ministers took a decision in this matter.

She stressed that protection from harm calls for a strong security force which means that employees in this sector should have the judicial power to intervene and stop the abuse. There was need to establish something along the lines of an independent community police system to curb domestic violence, she said.

During the meeting, the Shoura Council appealed to major state-owned companies such as Aramco, Sabic and others which receive concessions for employing Saudis to refrain from transferring their responsibilities to other companies.

The council called for the establishment of a committee in the Ministry of Labor made up of relevant authorities to coordinate and supervise the Saudi employment strategy and provide the necessary support.

The council, in addition, confirmed the importance of the continuous efforts by the ministry to coordinate with the Ministry of Interior to train Saudi youth to be able to work in contracting and maintenance companies.

Furthermore, the council approved the recommendations of the transport committee headed by Sadoon Al-Sadoon with regard to the annual report of the Labor Ministry.

 
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