Saudization or mirage investment


Okaz newspaper

WITH the start of the new Hijra year 1440, the campaign to Saudize number of jobs at sales points in four important job sectors has begun in right earnest. As usual, the campaign was followed by large number of press releases flooded by the labor ministry in all local media outlets. It includes beautiful pictures of the ministry supervisors in their field inspections on establishments. This is very much similar to the campaign to Saudize cell phone shops and its accessories.

Honestly speaking, I believe that the ministry campaign will bring good to the country and its people and they deserve our thanks. We cannot evaluate the achievements and goals achieved of the ministry through its press releases or office reports, but from the results achieved on the ground. What I mean by that are the results seen by people and and their direct beneficiaries. Therefore, we are going to wait for months before we can evaluate the procedures of the new Saudization campaign. But we need to carefully review in the previous Saudization campaign of cell phone shops. We need to seriously discuss and evaluate it, because the results on the ground are not satisfying.

In another word, the ministry of labor need to be clear, more responsible and transparent and answer all the questions raised by citizens on this issue.

Why many of the cell phone shops shut down on the first day of the decision to Saudize the shops. Some of the shops were abandoned like an ancient fortress and many months later came back to business, with most expat workers returning slowly. We can use the example of shops located on Palestine Street in Jeddah.

There are many Saudis who invested in this field and decided to work by themselves, taking advantage of the Saudization decision. But sadly they exited the market after a month or two and placed their businesses for sale after expatriate workers began returning to the sector gradually because of the lack of ministry supervision and field inspections. Why did this happen?

With the rising culture of e-commerce and the sales and service phone applications, the profit generated from commercial shops dropped significantly. Some of them were not able to cover their bills and expenses, how could we provide meaningful job opportunities to Saudis?

Are there any plans or procedures to deal with this existing mess in the telecom market? What are they?

We need to hear answers from the Ministry of Labor and Social Development. We cannot consider certain procedures a solution to the problem, if there is going to create bigger problems and place ambitious Saudis and their projects at risks in losing their businesses and jobs, and then we return back to the square one.