By Ali Al-Rabghi
THE country is currently experiencing a boom in real estate development. With the pressing need for vital infrastructure in our holy places, these projects need to be implemented swiftly and expertly. To this end the real estate companies active in the Kingdom have provided our authorities with a much needed and worthy service.
However, as always there is a flip-side. Some real estate tycoons have taken advantage of their privileged position. They take full advantage of the opportunities afforded them but they have not created any job opportunities for Saudi citizens; on the contrary, they have made it difficult for our youth to secure employment. Instead, they offer their close friends and acquaintances rich pickings and also transfer huge sums of money abroad themselves.
You see these tycoons smoking Havana cigars (one costs SR300) and ostentatiously displaying their newly acquired wealth. Unfortunately, this culture is present in some of our Arab brothers who are in this business.
A businessman, who prefers to stay anonymous, blamed our media for focusing exclusively on the amount of money Asians transfer every year. Of course, these are astronomical figures but we have left many others to profiteer without any checks and balances. For example many real estate giants have employed corrupt practices to get ahead.
Moreover they have been audacious enough to buy out smaller Saudi real estate companies, effectively depriving locals the chance of working on bigger projects.
This is an unacceptable form of corruption. I have to ask what’s the role of the National Anti-Corruption Commission in all of this. After all, they are responsible for protecting our citizens’ rights? Where do they fit in this picture?
There is a pressing need to stop this type of unfair business practice, which in effect is draining our economy and depriving our citizens of long-term job opportunities.