Proposal to close down all small groceries under study

Proposal to close down all small groceries under study

Dr. Muhammad Al-Khineizi
Dr. Muhammad Al-Khineizi

Fatima Al Dubais

DAMMAM – The Shoura Council has presented a proposal to the ministries of labor and municipal and rural affairs for closing down all grocery stores in neighborhoods and restrict retailer licenses to big shops that are capable of employing more than one Saudi man or woman, Shoura Council member Dr. Muhammad Al-Khineizi has said.

“There is no benefit in having so many grocery stores in one street or neighborhood. Moreover, feminization cannot be implemented on such shops due their small size. These shops rely on workers from abroad, which leads to an increase in foreign recruitment at a time the state is striving to cut down the number of expatriate workers in the country and raise the Saudization level,” Al-Khineizi said.

He said the Ministry of Labor has agreed to study the proposal, and if the government finds it feasible “nothing will stop it from being implemented.” He said the majority of licenses for small groceries are in the name of Saudi women, but the actual owners are male public servants who are banned from trading activities and cannot get licenses for such operations. These men take out licenses under their wives’ names and employ foreigners to run the shops, he added.

Al-Khineizi said the big retail shops have many advantages and have to follow several criteria, as they have to cope with competition. They display goods in a more organized way to attract customers. They also store foodstuffs in an appropriate and hygienic way.

In addition, when the number of big commercial centers increases, they are more likely to provide jobs for Saudis, he said.


  1. Nationalization at its best!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hundreds of thousands of saudi citizens, especially females are willing to take a job for SAR 3000 if it is in their neighborhood and if they do nto need to spend on daily taxis..

  2. honestly… IN WHAT WAY THIS HELPS?

  3. if a household member is cooking up for the family’s breakfast at 7am and runs out of salt for his/her cooking, does he/she need to go the supermarket which at times open at 10am?

  4. Every day when I read new laws are coming to restrict expat for work and business the big question is why still the issuance of visa is… You should stop issuing new visa if no need for expat workers/businessmen here.

  5. asakam.What bizarre thoughts are floating high in the shoura!Its a pity that on one side the government talks of saudization and on the other keeps recruitng people from outside.New recruitment companies keeping coming up now n thenIf the females or the males want to work they can work everywhere,irrespective of the place or the type of job.Off-course the criteria for job work has to be fulfilled.Dear youth please come out of your comfort cocoon and start working hard and make the nation proud.And Yes closing of small baqalas is not going to help in any way.

  6. The small business is the cornerstone of any countrys economy. Go ahead Saudi Arabia. You are done for anyway. You might as well go all the way to utter destruction. And since when did Saudis work in grocery stores? Don’t make me laugh! Never been in a small grocery store ANYWHERE in Kingdom that is manned by a Saudi.

  7. Yes, those small grocery stores don’t employ Saudis. But those Saudi owned grocery stores make thousands of Saudi families financially healthy and independent.

  8. I think it will work. We do not see that many bakala in USA. I think saudization board has to start from somewhere, encouraging saudi for work, give them necessary training and let them know they have to earn not to get.

    • Dear brother…may be you had stayed at some posh area for a while…next time just stroll through the streets of any city. You will find so many small outlets of all kind. These outlets include grocery ,washing facilities and other daily needs. Not only US, its normal at all cities of the world….I have seen at at-the-least a dozen countries.

    • Go to NY. Bakala (Grocery store, cornerstore, stop’n’go, 7/11) on every street. Sometimes more than one.

  9. I think it would be foolishness to close down grocery. There are two grocery shops in my neighborhood. When I am away on work my family or children call them just deliver any small items. They are ready to do anytime. If they close this grocery, do my family has to go the Hypermarket or Mall… Think about giving facility, not to cut facility. do something sensible;

  10. If ever this closure come in effect the worst hit will be the hungry and the poor while the Pandas and the Carrefours have no space for any credits whatsoever even if anyone is starving or dying these round the corner Bagalas open the doors to the poor and the hungry and the needy to help themselves with credits while preserving their dignity and giving them space to pay in easy installments as and when they have the money to pay back and once these grocery shops are gone the lucrativeness too will also go along with them and what will remain will be Big Bagalas with no heart for the poor and the hungry. It was such a lovely system in-fact these Bagalas were running so many Saudi companies by giving open-handed credits to their employees when they won’t get paid for months and the show used to go on. In-fact these Bagalas in it’s current shape and form must be legitimized and honored not toppled.

    • Rightly said, I agree with you. It not only support the expat labors. Even locals they buy things on credit, some times get beaten up for asking for outstanding. These bagalas open after Fajr Prayer and shut down late in night. No weekend, no time for their family no rest. Their life is limited to four walls of bagals.

  11. Why not implement a stricter rule on those bigger commercial supermarkets forcing them to hire 50% Saudi nationals?
    It is a FAIRER AND WISER idea..
    If you will close all the Bakalas,it will negatively impact not only the workers at those bakalas,but also the owner of the business and the community that the bakala is serving..
    A neighborhood bakalas are really helpful in the community at large.
    If you will close all the bakalas the rich will just become richer and the poor–poorer..
    Anyway,Saudis don’t want to take blue collar jobs even if it is in a big supermarket after all..
    Generally,they view those job level as a low-life jobs..

    • My brother Khalil, are you kidding???? Even those big commercial supermarkets don’t like to hire Saudi because they know how they work. Lazy as the laziest people on earth. They come late, ger-ger, ask for coffee, tea or whatever, then chat to their phones and leave early. They are very careless, couldn’t even manage small details of works. So how would those big supermarkets will hire them? Will they follow orders from their employer once they get hired? Will they do such works like moving things or boxes from there to here? Put prices on each item, clean those areas for new stocks, or put such things to the storage room for some space? Will they (Saudi) do that once they were employed in big supermarkets? Can they do the normal work of those expats like working as a labour in the supermarkets? Don’ you notice? Haven’t you seen all those supermarkets, most of their employees are expats? Because they can relay to the skills and hardworking of the expats. And they know expats works very well and trusted.

      • Brother! Go to Panda, Othaim or Carrefour; See All cashiers, security guards are Saudis; Panda and Othaim has majority of Saudi Led stores…. only few workers are expats…..

        • Oh yes! Saudis are majority in the cashier areas, but majority are expats doing the cleaning and replenishing the stocks in the supermarket. Only few are Saudis.

  12. Day by Day life of foreign workers (either businessman or employee) is becoming difficult in saudi arabia. We should look at the policies of UAE and should learn something from them. Like UAE, Saudis should facilitate foreigners…

  13. yes for god sake let it open and let saudi man /women run it yes we know it is for the forneger who works in it for 4000 ryals a month i am sure we be glad to take it, if closed then will be very hard for 80% of sauid wives and hosbands to go to supermarket and get what they want.
    This proposal is to benift big supermarkets only..

  14. ummmm let me think, honestly stop say that help women because you do your best to make their lives horrible, the matter fact is that you want the big sharks (big companies owners) get all the benefits by grow up and increase their business, now the Question is, if someone needs something important and urgent he/she has to go for long distance to big Supermarket to get it!!!! more traffic issues coming……..

    • simple answer …

      No! You will not travel like that…. Everywhere you will see Pandati, Othaim Corner, MEED, AL DOKAN

      Retail business will be much organized. Only it need is careful planning. Bakalas have poor quality standards, rats in shops, poor hygiene, some time expired products!!! Only plus is their presence everywhere

      No need to forcefully close Bakalas; Just bring in modern retail carts, expand like sand, you will see Bakalas saying ‘googbye’…

  15. Well I think now here many rules are imposed to foreigners that’s not good for here futures which foreigners build this country by sacrificing his blood. …now request to make easy for all expat or here’s nation like Europe…Thanks

    Haseeb Azami

  16. It would be good to implement these type of laws in a particular city on experimental basis, see the results, and discuss with the Saudi owners of these shops about the results, whether they affected them negatively or positively. Otherwise, it will be a great difficulty for Saudis and expatriates.

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