Merchants offer youths free stalls in vegetable market

Saudis buy vegetables in a market in Al-Qassim. (SPA)

Saudis buy vegetables in a market in Al-Qassim. (SPA)

The decision to restrict the wholesale operations of vegetables and fruits to only Saudis has made some impact on vendors of the goods at the central vegetable market in Jeddah.

The market was until recently dominated by foreign workers, about 75 percent, compared to the low percentage of the Saudization of jobs, not more than 20 percent.

Major merchants in the market held a meeting with the investor of the market to help Saudi youths acquire free of charge stalls for a period of three months from the date of signing the contract.

Muhammad Al-Juhani, member of the food supplies committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said merchants have decided to extend help to their nationals to enable them to work in this vital sector.

He said the merchants agreed with a number of media outlets to broadcast ads calling Saudi youths to be involved in this important sector, noting that there are serious job opportunities available for Saudis, with attractive salaries that start from SR 3,000 a month in addition to the other benefits for the employee and his family, including medical insurance and registration under the social insurance system.

Al-Juhani added that the merchants are more than ready to train young men on the management of the stalls and the profession of purchase and sales. They said they are ready to open a new chapter with the job nationalization committee and its chairman Ahmad Al-Sulami.

In a related development, Sahmi Al-Ghamdi, one of the senior merchants in the vegetable market in Jeddah, said he and his counterparts agreed with the investor of the central market to establish 70 to 100 new stalls in the market yard in order to lease them to young Saudi men free of charge for an initial period of three months to help them build their careers in the profession.

“Merchants are very serious in this regard. Job opportunities are extensive in the market in positions such as salesman, supervisor, auctioneer and other jobs that will enable young men to acquire the necessary expertise for owning a stall one day,” said Al-Ghamdi.

He dismissed the idea that this initiative is separate from the efforts made by the official job nationalization committee.

He urged Al-Sulami to cooperate with the merchants, noting that the nationalization efforts of the central market will not succeed without the joint efforts of the merchants and the committee.

Amer Al-Haidar, another merchant, said he and the other merchants would like to contribute to the nationalization efforts, but this must happen gradually and not overnight.

“The merchants are not satisfied with the estimated 20 percent Saudization ratio in the market. Young Saudis should be given basic professional training well enough,” he added.

Ahmad Al-Silmi, head of the inspection committee at the ministry’s branch in the Makkah Region, welcomed the initiative of job nationalization at the Jeddah vegetable market.

He pointed to some formal and regulatory procedures to be implemented when distributing the stalls to young men. Some of the procedures and terms are that the young man should be familiar with the profession, and should have a commercial registry and not enrolled in the Hafez program.

“The candidate should not be a government official, and the stalls should be distributed by the poll under the supervision of a committee and Jeddah Secretariat. All measures and procedures should be clear and transparent and implemented in the presence of the media,” he added.


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