Al-Kraidees: Automobile re-exports will open new trade channels

Al-Kraidees: Automobile re-exports will open new trade channels
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Al-Kraidees: Automobile re-exports will open new trade channels
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Updated 29 August 2012

Al-Kraidees: Automobile re-exports will open new trade channels

Al-Kraidees: Automobile re-exports will open new trade channels

Providing more investment opportunities in the Kingdom is a major requirement according to Abdullah Al-Kraidees, president of Al-Jazirah Vehicles Agencies.
Al-Kraidees, who has more than 25 years' experience in the field of auto business. He has called for launching systems that facilitate importing of products, including vehicles.
He said the Kingdom loses large sums due to lack of a system that allows traders to export products to neighboring countries after they are imported into to the Kingdom. He also said that his aim is to create a Saudi auto parts market that will enable more young Saudis to work in their own workshops.
Opening auto service centers and workshops, training more Saudis to join the job market and facilitating foreign investment were three major points that Al-Kraidees highlighted during his interview with Diana Al-Jassem of Arab News at his head office in Riyadh.
Al-Kraidees said there are important problems the Kingdom faces in terms of trade and labor market. He also emphasizes major changes that the Kingdom needs over the next 20 years.

Rapid change

What changes would make a major impact on the lives of Saudis in the coming 20 years?
Changes that are really expected in the coming years belong to young Saudis. Saudi family members are already close to each other and able to help each other, but in terms of financial issues young Saudis will be supporters to their families and will create and innovate in order to gain money. In addition, Saudis will accept work in several fields rather than in offices.

Role of leadership

What do you think of the leadership roles regarding organizations in the Kingdom? What are the factors/reasons for their current state?
Leaders of the Kingdom's organizations have to be close to the people they work with, respect their opinion and hear their voice. They have to cooperate with their team and give the teams opportunity to apply their ideas. Such cooperation between leaders and team will help both to share ideas and experience and develop their work environment.

Challenging task

What are the most difficult decisions that need to be applied in the Kingdom within the next 20 years?
We need a decision that facilitates trade in terms of exporting cars. Despite Saudi Arabia being the biggest car market in the Middle East and Al-Jazirah, the largest Ford dealer in the world, all our neighboring countries are allowed to export cars, but in the Kingdom we are not. We pay customs duty for cars that we import. Some cars are sold while others are not, especially trucks. We hope to export these trucks and cars to neighboring countries, but the system in the Kingdom doesn't allow us to do that.

Sustainable development

What goals would you set regarding the Kingdom's development and how would these goals be achieved in your current position?
Since I decided to work in the field of cars, I decided to develop two important points. My first aim was to create job opportunities for youth and allow them to learn more about the automobile sector. Give the youth the opportunity to share experience with foreign experts, and establish their own quick auto service centers. This is why Al-Jazirah organized several training courses for about 500 young Saudis in car repairing and sales. My second aim was to have a market for auto parts. I believe that having a market for auto parts will help to save money and create more job opportunities for youth.

Creative project

Give me an example of the most creative project you wish to launch in the Kingdom.
I would not announce the most creative project that I dream to establish in the Kingdom. It is my dream and I am still looking to hide it till it comes into reality.

KSA in three words

What three words would you use to describe the Kingdom within the coming 20 years, and why?
I view the Kingdom as the most stable economic country. The Kingdom's market is too open, and we are the only country that doesn't take taxes from traders. Such a good work environment is definitely attractive for traders and foreign investment.

Human rights

How can we improve human rights in Saudi Arabia? What are your expectations regarding human rights practices?
Human rights will be a very important issue to be discussed during the coming years. Women especially need to get their rights in terms of court issues such as divorce pending cases and harassment. Our religion asks us to deal with others with good morals. If we follow the Islamic rules, we will ensure the rights of every person.

Prominent activities

What are the most prominent economic activities in the Kingdom and what are the neglected sectors that needs attention?
The most prominent economic activities are areas surrounding oil. The most neglected activities are IT, education, and auto parts and service workshops. I also believe that we need to open foreign investments and allow experts from all countries to join the Saudi market. They might add value with new innovations. Such initiatives will also create several job opportunities for both Saudi and expatriate youth.

Role of SMEs

There is a need to boost small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector in the Kingdom as it creates various jobs. What role do you see for SMEs in the Kingdom's economic development?
SMEs will help youth to find job opportunities. They can also own them and run successfully if they learn to manage and develop them well and thus shape their career, with utmost discipline. Dealing with customers is another skill that Saudi youth would learn when they work in SMEs. They will also feel the responsibility upon them to pay their loans to banks. I hope to increase the number of SMEs in the field of workshops and auto parts centers — give more opportunities for youth to open auto service centers, and help youth find job opportunities through training programs.

Knowledge hunt

Education is always a priority of the Saudi government. What changes do you envisage in our education system to fit Saudi youth in a knowledge-based economy?
Our aim is not to have scholarships rather it is to target excellent people. What we need is to boost skills of youth to build training centers. We have such centers in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. We signed a contract with Ford to open a training institute meant for Saudis. The institute will train them in the field of auto-services. Not only that, managers also will go through this institute to learn more about sales and management skills. We still haven't decided the institute's location or the starting time as we are still on the look out for housing the institute's trainers. We have signed a contract to cooperate with the Human Resources Fund, and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation to train 500 young Saudis.

Fair opportunities

How do you see Saudi women's contribution in the labor, social and political areas in the next 20 years?
We appreciate the role of women and their right to work in labor market. To help women join such work environments, we opened a call-center that allows women to work in separated offices as customer service. We hired 36 Saudi women who are really productive, have excellent knowledge of all car models, marketing programs both about car sales or other services provided by Al-Jazirah. To make sure that the center is working in a good work environment, I hired my daughter as head of the department.

What's required in order for Saudi women to actualize your future vision?
Saudi women need training courses and a good work environment to produce excellent results. For example, we gave several training courses to the female employees where they understand cars' auto parts, malfunction, and marketing. I appreciate the contribution of Saudi women in labor market with the work environment safe and professional. I really like the decision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to allow women to make contributions in political life. The King has more wisdom and he can see what we don't see.

Saudi media

What measures and standards are yet to be (and must be) applied to Saudi media?
The current state requires us to be ready to deal with the changes all over the world. It is better for us to know how to deliver the real image of the Kingdom. We heard many rumors about the Kingdom's restrictions on women. The real image has to be transferred through our local media tools. For example, certain countries blame the Kingdom for not allowing its women to drive cars. The truth is that women are more comfortable when they don't drive, where drivers are doing this task. Actually, there are more important issues than the one about women's driving, and these issues have to be under spotlight.

Social media

What impact will social media have regarding change in the Kingdom?
Traditional media is still alive in many other countries in the Middle East. Here I would love to mention an important issue regarding social and traditional media. In Europe and America, they have social media and use it, but they haven't ignored the traditional media. I believe that the role of traditional media is much more important as a news source.

Learning from the past

What are three or four mistakes that have been repeated in the Kingdom during the past two decades? And how could we eliminate these mistakes in order to develop the Kingdom?
I can't recognize mistakes. Maybe there were some mistakes, but I don't know them.

What must leaders in both the government and private sectors do to ensure the Kingdom's growth and sustainable development?
Leaders have to be close to customers to know their needs and problems that need to be solved. The needs of customers are a necessity that each leader has to know in order to achieve satisfaction.

Message to youth

Given that the youth make up the majority of the Saudi population, what message would you want to be conveyed to them? And what else would you say to the rest of the population?
My message to the youth is to participate in building the country. They also have to accept people from other countries regardless of their religion and color.