Firm incentives push Saudization drive
By Muhammad Al-Abdullah
DAMMAM — The implementation of Saudization in five more key sectors from Monday would have a positive impact on securing more jobs by young Saudi men and women in the Kingdom’s commercial sector, according to market sources. The decision of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to start implementing Saudization in a total of 12 sectors have prompted many companies and establishments to hire more Saudis and encourage them with incentives so as to replace foreigners who had dominated these sectors.
According to the ministry’s directives, jobs in building and construction material shops, medical appliances and equipment shops, car spare parts shops, shops selling carpets and confectionary shops and patisseries, will be nationalized in the third phase of Saudization of 12 major sectors, effective from Jan. 7. After the expiry of the deadline, inspectors from the ministry started raids on these shops in order to take punitive measures against the violators.
Following the enforcement of the directive for the last phase of Saudization of 12 key sectors, a large number of shops were found shut down on Monday in the Eastern Province and other parts of the Kingdom. This also shows the level of cover up (tasattur) business prevailing in these sectors.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, several Saudi businessmen as well as employees working in these sectors said that many firms have started attracting Saudi jobseekers in these vital sectors. Abdullah Al-Buraikan, executive president of the Young Businessmen’s Council at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Eastern Province (Asharqia), said that implementation of Saudization of some key sectors from Monday would help create more jobs for Saudis.
“Since the decision to implement Saudization in mobile shops, followed by other sectors, many Saudis have come forward to take up jobs in those sectors that were hitherto dominated by foreigners,” he said.
Hani Qasqoos, owner of a confectionary shop, said that there are several Saudis working at his sales outlets for a long time. “Inspectors from the ministry have been making inspection raids on the shops on a regular basis to verify the documents of workers and to find out whether there are any violations involved,” he said.
Saad Al-Dosary, owner of a spare parts shop, said he started Saudization of his shop since nearly one year ago. “The number of Saudis working at his shop has reached 13 and this accounts for 50 percent of the total staff,” he said, adding that average salary of the workers is not less than SR4,000.
Mamdouh Al-Mutairy, a Saudi employee, said more than 50 percent of the medical appliances and equipment shops remained closed on Monday. “The percentage of Saudis at these shops were below 50 percent before implementation of the ministry’s directive,” he said, adding that foreigners dominated most of the jobs in these shops.
Meethah Al-Amiri, a supervisor in sales, said she has been hired to work at a spare parts shop 10 months ago. “Women workers at the shop had undergone a three-month training before taking up of their job,” she said.
Saleh Al-Humaidan, former chairman of the human resources committee at Asharqia chamber, said that almost all the sales jobs are supposed to have been Saudized for a long time in view of the fact that these jobs require skills that do not needed intensive training.