Unemployed Saudi struggles on €400 a month

Mohammad Alsaeddi does not fit the popular image of a rich Saudi. As a 37-year-old living in Qatif, in eastern Saudi Arabia, he has been unemployed since 2010 and receives no help from the state. He sells birds at the markets and depends on help from his family in order to support himself.
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"I have to borrow money from my brothers and sisters in order to live"

The last few years have been financially and morally very difficult for me. I have been hit by a series of setbacks that has really given my life a shake. Until 2008, I worked as a producer for the television channel CNBC Arabiya. But following an internal conflict, I was given the sack without any warning. A team of puppets had been appointed a few months earlier to do a “clean up” of the channel. I had clearly been sanctioned by the government, who did not tolerate me speaking and thinking freely [Mohammed identifies himself as an activist. He has previously denounced on this site the Saudi authorities’ discrimination of Shiites such as himself]. Two years earlier, in 2006, during the mini-crash of the Riyadh stock market, I lost an enormous amount of money: around 14 years of savings.
Between 2008 and 2010, after finding nothing in my field, I worked as a truck driver. I spent 12 hours a day on the road for 600 euros a month: in other words, four times less than what I was earning at CNBC. On top of being poorly paid, the job wore me out, so I quit.
“In Saudi Arabia, leisure activities are very rare, if not non-existent”
For the past two years, I have had to make do with very little. I don’t receive any unemployment benefits or any other welfare benefits. This year, Saudi Arabia launched “Hafiz”, an assistance program for unemployed people.Even though the program helps just over a million Saudis, it is still very limited. That’s because only people aged between 20 and 35 are eligible. I’m 37. They also have to have spent the last 10 months in Saudi Arabia, and have parents with Saudi origins. If you are lucky enough to fit this profile, you can count on receiving 400 euros a month for a year. After that, the payments stop.
I earn my money by selling birds at the markets in Qatif. But I earn very little from this casual job. Therefore I borrow money from my brothers and sisters. They only help me when they can. It’s very delicate to ask someone for money, especially from my relatives. I see it as a humiliation, but I also tell myself that this won’t be forever and that one day it will be my turn to help them. It’s good if I get to pocket 400 euros at the end of the month. This just about covers my expenses, which don’t vary a lot. Most of that money is spent on petrol, food and my mobile phone bill. Life is very expensive in Saudi Arabia. The only advantage is that you don’t need to pay income tax, thanks to the colossal sums of money that the Kingdom receives from oil.
“Among the youth, there is high unemployment, and suicides are common”
In this country, leisure activities like what you have in the West are very rare, if not non-existent. Life is austere. There are certainly bars where you can go and drink coffee or smoke a chicha, but I don’t go to those places. My finances are too tight.
I am not married, have no children, and I live at home. How do you make life better for yourself? In order to stop being a burden on my family, I had planned on going to the United States last September to try my luck there. But 10 days before leaving, my father died, so I cancelled everything. This plan has been put on hold while I spend time being near my mother.
The West thinks Saudi Arabia is just a safe haven for the rich. But I can tell you that life here is hard for a lot of people. Among the youth, there is high unemployment, and suicides are common.


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point of view

I think in such poor circumstances ,the country need a new system in employment ,,

Poor fellow! (sic)

I have little sympathy for this man. He comments imply nothing less than contempt for those less privileged than himself - such as truck drivers. Instead of learning something from driving a truck for a living - 'getting real' - he decides it's a good idea to go to the US, presumably to earn his living complaining about them. He evidently prefers what he describes as humiliation at the hands of his relatives to earning an honest wage driving a truck.

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Exactly! But there again Greece doesn't have the sort of financial surplus the exceedingly wealthy Saudi Kingdom has that could be distributed more fairly especially given the high cost of living there.

The State Council by the nucle

Wen Jiabao chaired a State Council executive meeting to once again listen to the civilian nuclear facilities safety inspection report discussed and approved in principle the nuclear safety and radioactive pollution prevention "12th Five-Year Planning and Vision 2020 goals," Xinhua Beijing, May 31 Premier Wen Jiabao chaired a State Council executive meeting on the 31st, and again to listen to civilian nuclear facilities safety inspection report, which discussed and adopted in principle on nuclear safety and radioactive pollution prevention "12th Five-Year" plan and the 2020 vision. The meeting noted that the State Council, March 16, 2011 executive meeting to listen to the report to respond to the situation of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, decided to carry out safety inspection on the national nuclear facilities. Relevant departments of the organization of nuclear safety, earthquakes, and marine experts, with more than nine months to 41 run in the construction of nuclear power generating units, three nuclear power generating units to be built, as well as all civilian research reactors and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, etc., were comprehensive security checks. Chinese Academy of Engineering has embarked on a major consulting projects of nuclear energy development, the formation of the new situation of Chinas nuclear power development proposal "stage of the study report. February 8 this year, the State Council executive meeting to listen to a comprehensive safety inspection report made arrangements for further examination and implementation of corrective measures. The overall conclusions of the safety inspection is: Chinas nuclear safety standards for full adoption of safety standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safety regulations and standards with international standards. Civilian nuclear facilities to external events such as earthquakes, floods in the site fully demonstrated. Nuclear power plant in the design, manufacture, construction, commissioning and operation, effective management of the overall quality controlled. Check the view that our operation and the basic construction of a nuclear power plant to meet Chinas current nuclear safety regulations and requirements of the latest standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, have certain severe accident prevention and mitigation, risk controlled, safe and secure; civilian research reactors and nuclear fuel cycle facilities meet the requirements of nuclear safety regulations, risk controlled, safe and secure. The examination revealed that the main problem is: does not meet the new requirements of the flood control capacity of the individual nuclear power plant, the seismic capacity of the individual civilian research reactors and nuclear fuel cycle facilities does not meet the new standards, part of the nuclear power plant is not developed and implemented severe accident prevention and mitigation procedures, Tsunami assess and respond to rela

Lack of opportunity for Saudi youth

The money that Saudi has one would expect them to come up with a work program that would engage youth. There must be some type of indigenous craft/skills that could be developed.

I hear that there are many europeans working in Saudi. Why not apprentice Saudi youth to each ‘european’ craftsman and make it mandatory for the youth to attend day/night school.

A government as wealthy as the Saudi government should have no problem funding schemes for the youth - or is it that the government and the wealthy of Saudi couldn’t care less for their youth?

Read the article!

This guy is a dissident, someone purged from his media job by a government crackdown. They aren't going to give him the time of day. He was educated and got a nice job at state expense, and he turned against them, so they withdrew those benefits. Sitting in a truck is too hard? At thirty seven? Can you say LAZY? This guy needs to stay out of America. He thinks someone owes him a living and we already have too many freeloaders around here. I am not automatically against media crackdowns either. The media is brainless, unaccountable two faced and reckless at heart. They exist to push the envelope, glamorizing anything to attract attention, and will inevitably destroy your culture, unless controlled. Crazy, stupid things happen when you let them run the country.