Is the Saudi born only to become an employee?

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Okaz newspaper

I FEEL very sad when I hear statements by our brothers in the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and see the impact of the decisions emanating from their medieval mentality on the simple citizen, who is only dreaming of making a living for himself and his family.

The geniuses in the ministry suffer from a chronic psychological condition, can be called «the job syndrome». They believe that Allah has created the Saudi to be an employee living on leftovers from a lowly job that is not enough even to fill an empty stomach or dress up a naked body.

Helping the Saudi to become a businessman is a secondary matter in the minds of these geniuses. Some of them may consider it a luxury or a crime.

A few months back I wrote an article under the title «The Saudization madness» in which I asked questions like: Does the poor Saudi need a job or a source of income? Is the job the only solution to improve the citizen›s life or is it just another means to make an income? Why has the job become a target in all our plans to generate an income for the citizen while there are other means that are better and more feasible to both the citizen and the national economy?

I asked at the time that shouldn›t we think of such questions after more than a quarter of a century since the introduction of the Saudization program that proved to be a total failure and has become a problem in itself.

Instead of finding new and effective means to turn Saudis into successful entrepreneurs and businessmen, the old and lazy bureaucratic mentality, which formulated the stale strategies for social reform, opted to convince Saudis to become plumbers, masons and janitors.

The obsolete mentality of the Labor Ministry is incapable of seeing anything beyond its magic solution, which is the job.

Other Gulf countries have limited the nationalization of jobs to the government sector alone while their citizens have easy and simple options to become successful businessmen under privileges they gained by virtue of nationality.

We call the partnership between a citizen and an expatriate «tasattur» (cover-up), which is an offensive term to describe businesses run by expatriates with Saudis after promising them a fixed amount from the profits, while in fact it is a convenient and a cost-effective method of doing business. This partnership deal, not tasattur, provides the citizen an assured income.

This is so because officials in other GCC countries do not have an incriminating or suspicious mentality toward expatriates and are not obsessed with something called employment. The foremost priority for them is to enable the citizen to find a stable income to make his life better.

If you ask anyone today about the reasons that make us fight tasattur, instead of legalizing it as «partnership» to give a stable income for thousands of Saudis, he will tell you that large sums of money are transferred abroad because of this phenomenon.

If you ask him why the expatriates transmit their money to their home countries instead of investing it here, he will not give an answer though it is simple and apparent.

The expatriate does not feel his life in our country stable because of numerous complicated and expulsive procedures.

What can we do to stop the draining of huge amounts of money from our country? We shall make the expatriate feel safe and secure in this country, instead of clinging to the straw of Saudization that has broken the back of our economy.

The intervention of the ministry in the job market in this uncouth manner did not solve the problems of the citizens with limited income. It has also confused the Saudi market and turned it from a facility to attract investments into a repulsive environment where investments are not welcome.

It is high time the ministry stops its meddling in the job market and leave the market to run by itself.

The ministry should instead try to make the citizen a member of these markets conferring him the rank of a businessman.

Only at that point we can safely say we have solved the problem of unemployment.


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