70% of gold shops in Jeddah face closure

Updated 22 November 2013

70% of gold shops in Jeddah face closure

Around 70 percent of gold shops in Jeddah are likely to close down due to the ensuing labor inspection raids.
Mohammed Azor, a member of the Gold Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said that about 840 gold shops, which account for around 70 percent of the total number of shops in Jeddah, would face closure over a period of six months. Some of these shops can be expected to rectify their status during this period in line with the nationalization drive.
Azor, who expects gold sales to soar up to 700 percent in legally-owned stores, said that 95 percent of workshops are expected to close down following the correction period.
About 40 percent of workshops have already shut down following demands by technicians who have taken advantage of the amnesty period to ask for a three-fold hike in their salaries.
Meanwhile, workshop owners have urged authorities to provide trained workers to replace the workers leaving the Kingdom. They also urged the Ministry of Labor to allow them to recruit new hires to replace workers who had left.
The Saudization drive in gold shops does not affect Eastern Province traders since most of them are run by Saudis, he said.
Abdulghani Al-Muhanna, chairman of the committee on gold and jewelry in the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said about 500 shops and workshops would face closure following the end of the correction period.
“The percentage of localization of gold shops in the Kingdom is not more than 10 percent. Expats work on very low salaries not exceeding SR5,000 because it is mostly managed by them,” Al-Muhanna said.
He said that eastern region shops are seen as a model for achieving the highest percentage of localization, estimated at 90 percent. Wages range between SR15,000 and SR20,000 because shops are managed by nationals. The percentage of localization in workshops, however, is not more than two percent, he said.
Al-Muhanna stressed that the nationalization of gold shops is in need of a strategic plan to be implemented over a period of 10 year.
Nationals need to be trained in the profession at various stages, he said.
There are around 1,200 gold stores in the Kingdom and 800 workshops, Al-Muhanna said, adding that gold stores should be fully localized. “We should not accept the common excuse that nationalization is difficult due to lack of expertise,” he said.

Russian president Vladimir Putin arrives in Saudi Arabia

Updated 1 min 22 sec ago

Russian president Vladimir Putin arrives in Saudi Arabia

  • King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Russian leader at Al-Yamamah Palace

DUBAI: Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Riyadh on Monday in his first visit since 2007, and was welcomed to Al-Yamamah Palace by Saudi King Salman as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar earlier personally welcomed the Russian leader as he disembarked from his aircraft.

An official welcoming ceremony would be held in honor of Putin and various agreements would signed between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Russia, Al-Arabiya reported.

Putin’s “long-awaited” visit will include discussions on “further cooperation to stabilize prices on the world carbohydrate market” as well as the situation in Syria, the Gulf and Yemen.

The Russian leader, in an interview with Arab broadcasters and aired on Sunday ahead of his arrival, described the “very good relations” with the Saudi leadership.

“We consider Saudi Arabia a friendly nation. I have very good relations with both the King and the Crown Prince,” Putin said, and noted the improved bilateral relations between both countries.

Putin in the interview likewise condemned the Sept. 14 attacks on Aramco facilities, and said “such actions do not bring any positive results to anybody, including perpetrators,” as they do not have a strong effect on the market.

“We condemn any such actions, end of story. This is the official position … regardless of who stood behind the incident,” the Russian president commented.

A forum attended by Saudi Arabian and Russian business leaders and government officials earlier Monday resulted in the signing of several agreements between companies of both countries.

Watch the live coverage of Putin’s arrival: