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A Saudi Arabia government minister has led calls to boost employment levels in the kingdom by firing one million expatriate workers and replacing them with Saudi citizens.
Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, the deputy interior minister, urged the labour minister to tackle joblessness among the country's youth, which he claims has been caused by a population boom, unstable economic growth tied to volatile oil exports and the preference of expat workers for labour-intensive jobs.
According to Emirates 24/7, Prince Ahmed commented: "I believe that in case we manage to dispose of one million foreign workers and the Saudis who will replace them can do their jobs properly, then the kingdom will be able to shut the unemployment file completely."
Figures released by the General Statistics Department of the Ministry of Economy and Planning show that Saudi Arabia's population exceeded 27 million this year and comprises 8.4 million expatriates.
Dr Siham Al Issa, a leading female intellect in the kingdom, has also called for reforms to the recruitment practices of the private sector in order to get more women into jobs and allow them to contribute to the economy.
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