Saudization needs to be done gradually


Al-Riyadh newspaper

Solving unemployment is a high priority strategic goal of this country. Our economy suffers from many problems, including tasattur (the process of non-Saudis running businesses in the names of Saudis), huge numbers of foreign workers and the exaggerated prevalence of retail stores.

Dealing with unemployment by introducing a 100 percent policy of Saudization needs to be reconsidered. Saudization needs to be done gradually until it eventually reaches 100 percent.

We also do not need to have 40 restaurants in a single street, as is the case across the Kingdom. I have previously written about the importance of limiting retail stores and restaurants to enable a few to be successful.

In my opinion, we do not need so many malls, as this results in the need for large numbers of foreign workers, high energy costs and crowds. There should be a balanced number of shopping malls, which means that every street should not be filled with them. Licenses should be issued according to need and not according to the demand of storeowners. This would decrease the number of foreign workers.

Why was the Saudization of fruit and vegetable markets, the taxi industry and jewelry stores not successful in the past? I think that it was due to the fact that the private sector lacks appeal for many Saudis, as there are limits to career advancement. Being a salesman should appeal both financially and in terms of career. This will only happen when the responsible authorities stop keeping economic issues a secret and when we limit the number of shops on our streets. We need to urgently and stringently fight tasattur and implement Saudization. There needs to be laws in place that support companies and Saudi shop owners.

We must create a work culture in the private sector that is according to our needs. Certificates and diplomas are not important, especially since most jobs that are available in the retail sector do not require degrees. Work culture is a fundamental requirement.