A top official at the Jeddah municipality who has been tasked with overseeing the central vegetable market located in Jeddah has allegedly banned all of the traders in the central vegetable market from selling any of the fresh produce to any expatriate. The municipal official has stated that he has made this new move in order to push for a greater Saudization of the market. For those of you who may not know, Saudization is a process which is officially undertaken by the authorities and government which aims at minimizing or removing the expatriate workforce in a given business sector and push for more local Saudis to be employed in the sector.
In accordance to a report by a local media house, the director of the Department of slaughterhouses and public markets in Jeddah, Nasser Al Jarallah has told all of the traders that if they are waiting for the expatriates and foreigners to come and buy from them, then they must understand that the authorities do not want expatriates buying from them. This statement also resulted in a tense standoff between some of the traders and director Al Jarallah. The traders complained that there is now law which would prevent them from selling any good to the expatriates who are living legally in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This announcement comes, following several raids on the markets with legal, documented expatriate workers as well as customers being arrested. A source within the operating company of the market has stated that several expatriate workers who used to work there are now staying in their homes in fear of being arrested in a raid. This has caused a crisis in the market. The losses caused by this crisis amount to SAR 4 million per day.
The traders at the main markets have also claimed that they have been in total compliance with the Ministry of Labor’s Saudization targets, however, they are not capable of ensuring 100 percent employment for all the citizens. The traders have now called upon the municipality in order to provide them with the names of those citizens who are willing to work at the stalls in the market.
A member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) fruit and vegetables committee, Fahad Al-Ghamdi has stated that the companies in the market, as well as the traders conducting business, are in compliance with the law. Al Ghamdi also stated that all of the parties involved must be abiding by the laws of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He stated that the matter would also be raised with the relevant government authorities.
The Saudization process in the Kingdom is a natural move, and was imminent as soon as the authorities realized that 1/3 of the total workforce in the Kingdom are expatriates, which means that there are jobs to be offered to the local population which faces an alarmingly high unemployment rate, especially for a country with one of the largest expatriate workforces in the world.
Source: Arab News