Mobily Penalized in Saudi Arabia for Not Hiring Enough Nationals

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi regulators suspended some of the services of telecommunications provider Etihad Etisalat for failing to hire enough Saudis in executive positions in the latest sign of the kingdom’s efforts to lower unemployment among nationals. Shares tumbled.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission said it ordered the company, known as Mobily, to suspend the sale of prepaid and postpaid packages services to new customers. The company said it cannot determine the effect of the decision, adding that it was cooperating with the regulator.

Saudi authorities have ordered companies to comply with rules on the so-called Saudization of jobs to reduce the unemployment among nationals, currently at the highest level in more than a decade.

In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said he expected unemployment to start falling from next year.

Mobily’s shares dropped as much as 4.5 percent at open in Riyadh, before paring losses to 3.1 percent as of 10:03 a.m., the most among 186 members of the Tadawul All Share Index.

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