Retail sector next Nitaqat target

Updated 28 June 2013
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Retail sector next Nitaqat target

The Ministry of Labor is currently devising a new initiative to nationalize the Kingdom’s retail sector. The move is expected to generate 600,000 job opportunities for Saudi nationals, and is therefore set to pose a considerable threat to the current foreign manpower working in the sector.
Undersecretary at the Ministry of Labor Ahmed Al-Humaidan said the objective of the initiative is to create real opportunities for Saudi youth in small and medium enterprises including restaurants, bookstores, supermarkets, shops selling food, auto parts, furniture, toiletry, industrial materials and electrical supplies. He added that this step is just the beginning of the initiative, which aims to completely resettle the whole sector with Saudi nationals.
The new plan, however, has disappointed many expatriates currently working in the retail sector.
“Saudis are not willing to work like we do,” says Eijaz Baasit, an Indian national who runs a small grocery shop. “The right way to tackle employment problems among the Saudi youth is not to get rid of expatriates but to create new jobs that fit their needs and educational experiences.”
Nepalese national Khaldoon Ahmed who owns a watch shop in Kandara says the Ministry of Labor needs to limit the process of Saudization to managerial and upper echelon jobs, which Saudis are willing to accept and not to target menial job positions.
“We work in relatively low-paying jobs that no Saudi is prepared to do.”
A retail sector report by Al Rajhi Capital early this year, said that small convenience stores called “bakalas” currently dominate the retail sector with around 59 percent of the market share.
The Ministry of Labor’s data shows that nearly 1 million Saudi nationals are unemployed. Companies in the retail sector find it increasingly difficult and expensive to employ Saudi nationals to work in labor-intensive jobs that are currently done by low paid foreigners. As a result, these companies will have to incur higher costs for recruitment, training and retention, which would squeeze their profit margins.
According to a report by AFP, Group Chief Economist at the National Commercial Bank Said Al-Shaikh confirmed that the retail sector employs 1.7 million non-Saudis, while 2.8 million foreigners work in construction. Approximately 700,000 people are employed in the industrial sector of which only 20 percent are Saudis.
Collated statistics from the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that the Kingdom has the second largest retail sector after the United Arab Emirates.

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Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

Updated 20 June 2018
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Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

  • The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.
  • Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels.

JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition officials on Tuesday displayed weapons and explosives supplied by Iran to Houthi militias in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. 

The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.

Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels. The weapons were captured on the battlefield in Hodeidah and displayed at a military base in the UAE. 

“Unsurprisingly, there are advanced military components in the Houthi militias’ hands,” said Talal Al-Teneiji, an official at the UAE Foreign Ministry.

“We took time to inspect and disassemble these to figure out the source ... and we can say that these elements are military-grade materials imported from Iran to the Houthi militias.”

As the week-long offensive in Hodeidah intensified on Tuesday, coalition forces consolidated their grip on the city’s airport and there was new fighting on the main coast road leading to the city center, with Apache helicopters providing air support to the coalition. 

“We can hear the sounds of artillery, mortars and sporadic machinegun fire. The Houthis have been using tanks,” one civilian on the coastal strip said. 

“Water has been cut off to many of the areas near the corniche area because the Houthis have dug trenches and closed water pipes.”

At the airport, which the coalition has controlled since Saturday, their forces stormed the main compound and took full command.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said: “We are waiting for the Houthis to realize the sort of military and psychological blow that they got with the airport ... we are giving them time to decide if they want to save the city ... and pull out.”

Oubai Shahbandar, a strategic communications adviser, told Arab News that “without the sea and airport of Hodeidah, the Houthi militia has effectively lost the war.”

They should agree to UN-hosted peace talks and not prolong the fighting. “The tide in this conflict has clearly turned in favor of the Arab coalition and the welfare of the Yemeni people ought to be paramount,” he said.