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Cairo: A Saudi fund, encouraging the employment of Saudi nationals, has reported detecting cases of illegal exploitation of its incentives and said they have been referred to a state anti-corruption watchdog.

The Human Resources Development Fund, dubbed HADAF, said it has been found out that beneficiaries have illegally made use of its programmes in a way that harms public money.

The exposed cases have been referred to the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority, HADAF added, without giving specific figures.

The fund urged legal beneficiaries to report any suspected case of unlawfully exploiting its support and lodge complaints about any “illegal violations or exploitation practices” involving fraud or corruption.

HADAF has been set up with the aim of supporting efforts to qualify Saudi manpower and employ them at the private sector in the kingdom.

To this end, the fund, among other things, bears part of the salaries paid to the Saudis employed at the private sector establishments after their training.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has launched a series of initiatives to employ its nationals and replace foreign workers in several fields including education, telecommunications and real estate as part of a labour policy known as “Saudisation”.

In September, the kingdom unveiled a plan to localise the dental profession, initially setting it at 35 per cent as of next March. The Ministry of Health said it will follow up the implementation of the decision geared towards increasing Saudis’ engagement in the labour market.

Compliant private sector institutions stand to benefit from incentives and support programmes offered by the Ministry of Human Resources to help employ Saudis.

These incentives include support to the process of looking for qualified employees, training and employment continuity as well as having access to Saudi employment programmes.

In mid-2022, ministerial decrees were announced restricting jobs in certain sectors to Saudis only. They covered, optics jobs, customer services, licensed aviation professions including co-pilots and air controllers, sales outlets and periodic checks of cars.

In December, another decree localising employment for postal services and parcel transport across the country went into effect.

Saudi Arabia is also implementing a regional employment programme for its nationals.