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Saudi Arabia

Miswak couldbe a non-oilexport item

RIYADH: The government is planning to nationalize the production and sale of miswak and later focus on its exports, an official has said, adding that the product could become a part of Saudi Arabia’s major non-oil exports because of its religious significance.

“Expatriates working in the sector would have to give up this work so that citizens can take over,” Ibrahim Al-Muaiqil, director general of human resources fund, was quoted as saying by an online newspaper on Sunday.
The Ministry of Labor is heading in the direction of nationalization of the sale of miswak in all parts of the Kingdom, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, he said.
Miswak, a teeth-cleaning twig, is made from the Salvadora persica tree (known as arak in Arabic) and has religious significance.
If the Ministry of Social Affairs succeeds in opening up windows for sale of miswak around the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the next step would be to nationalize its sale in all parts of the country, the report said.
Al-Muaiqil said the income from this sector is huge and can create a major transformation for those who work in the area. “The two ministries were cooperating in this area to start export after complete nationalization.”
He said that the joint project would include exclusion of expatriates who currently dominate this sector at all its stages. Only Saudis would be involved in the production of miswak, its sale and marketing.
The entire process of nationalization would require steps such as improvement of the sector, making standards for their preservation, packaging and transportation, he said.
“After it is nationalized, the next stage would be its entry into the manufacturing industry by producing pastes and related items,” he added.

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