Expatriates rule the roost
By: Abdullah Sayel
SR 160 billion worth market is sold to non-Saudis. The retail business is run and owned by expats who are in most cases not qualified to run. The last campaign by the Ministry of Labor exposed that 88 percent of retail stores are not owned or controlled by Saudi businessmen. Moreover, more than 40 percent of those are illegal expats.
Although the door was widely opened to non-Saudis through the new regulations of international investment, yet many of them chose to remain as illegal retailers. The ‘legals’ of course are those who only use a Saudi name on commercial records. Saudis who had to give up their names (or rent them) found it impossible to continue while surrounded by immense pressures from non-Saudis.
The issue affects many aspects of daily life in Saudi Arabia. Most retailers sell goods that they are not qualified to sell. They claim expertise in clothing, gold, electronics, ornaments, constructions, painting, food and even plumbing! You name it!
The writer is Media Manager, King Saud bin Abdulaziz
University for Health Sciences. Twitter: @abdullahsayel