A Pakistani robbed of 136000, beaten and threatened with knives. Two indians shot dead. And, God knows how many unreported crimes all over the kingdom now. We don’t even need to talk about the incidents at HARA in Riyadh. And what happened in Batha some years ago is still talked about..
Why are people going out of control?
There is a reason for it.
In the recent past , we have been talking about Saudization. We have been talking about unemployment. We have been talking about local issues. Men and women have been voicing opinions. On the National Day, people went out of their way to make a point. The point being: I want to live life MY way. Everyone is now discovering his/her own way of life. The era of individuality.
I remember, 20 years ago – this was not possible. No one even bothered.
Today, there is anger. Anger , which has reached a level where people now do as they please.
When a mother of 4 is beaten up by her husband and asked to pay all the bills just because she works BECAUSE her husband does not pay all the expenses, even though he has a good salary, she one day freaks out. She loses control. She becomes disgusted and angry. Small arguments become huge fights and these fights lead to the collapse of the family, and even a crime. Children get affected and then they grow up with grudges and deprivations.
Today, we see a whole generation of such children.
When a young man studies hard, gets a degree and then goes out to search for a job and he does not get a job in his own country – he starts to think. And, lets understand this: People of today are not stupid. They are WELL informed and exposed to the ways of the world. They look around and then they look within , and it frustrates them.
I wrote a blog about the Red, Green and Yellow policy some time back. I have been talking about unemployment and Saudization since 2003. And, each time I talk about this, I repeat myself. I keep saying one thing: Saudi people would have no issues, no unemployment problems and no financial issues if ONLY KSA would allow foreign investment the right way.
I can hire at least 5-10 Saudi men and women RIGHT now and start at least 5-10 new projects this minute. I can bring in investment. I can do so much. Why am I not doing it? Even if I want to, I cannot really. I must either go through SAGIA, which tells me that I need to leave on exit and then come back as an investor or go through my Sponsor, which means I have to wait for his sign for everything. And , even if I left and came back under SAGIA, I am limited in many ways. Honestly speaking, KSA is not offering me much against the contribution I am willing to make. I would rather invest this in Bahrain or Dubai or Qatar. Or better still, in my own country. This is my thought and it is no secret HOW long my family has been here. Imagine what the average new comer or potential investor would be thinking?
In my dealings for foreign setups, MANY have fears we can definitely NOT satisfy because legislation will not allow us to.
So, the frustration lingers on and on.
I know many locals who come to a point where they completely lose hope and become disillusioned in their own country. I have many potential employees and associates who just look at the ground with despair when I tell them that I would give them a job if I had my own commercial registration. I would. But, can I? As what? A sponsored “professional”? Why can’t I just walk into the Ministry of Commerce and issue a business registration for 500 riyals and start my own setup without any partners? Give me a book of rules and tax me, I don’t care. But, let me run my business , MY way. Let me control my own funds and allocate as I please. Let me come and go as I please. Let me own what I have and create. And then , if I do not train and hire locals – you can penalize me. But, if you make it SO difficult for me to get anything done then I will just keep paying of “expeditors” and I will be unable to hire anyone properly. I will not be able to expand. And, one day soon, I will take my resources and leave. What about that Saudi who was depending on his salary from me? Who will pay off his loans? If I go, he would not know what to do.
He may be decent enough to suffer silently. But, will his son suffer? Don’t you think it is very easy for the youth to opt for crime? It is. And, it is happening.
Expatriates are NOT a problem. They can be instrumental in the development of a nation. There is so much that can be done. So many billions redirected within the country. Incentives. Honestly, most expatriates love KSA. They would readily and happily invest here. They would work with Saudis to totally eliminate unemployment. Many would. I am sure about it.
I have met many young Saudis who were on the verge of crime and they did not proceed with it as soon as I presented a better opportunity. These boys and girls need direction. And, just talk will not do it. If KSA depends on local businessmen to resolve unemployment issues, then it is a risky gamble. They will not resolve it. Some may, many will not. Every Saudi will not work with Every Saudi. Remember this formula. But, ANY Saudi will work with ANY expatriate. Just as Every Pakistani will NOT work with Every Pakistani but will work with ANY Saudi. Cultural, racial and tribal differences folks! We will never get over these. Decision makers here should consider this. They should put themselves in the shoes of a 25-year-old who graduated 3 years ago and he remains broke with pressures beyond his control. Do you honestly expect everyone to be a true Believer of Allah? Even those will slip sometimes and a crime will happen.
Small investments, creative solution providers and resourceful people , both Saudi and non Saudi have solutions. People like me. Give us the opportunity to at least DO something about it. I will forget and forgive my hundreds of thousands , if not over a million investment in KSA if only I get the RIGHT to OWN what I have. I will create more, pump in more and above all EMPLOY SO many locals. I see talented men and women I want to hire right now, but I am unable to. My Saudi associate will advise me against it. God knows why?
I very honestly WISH and PRAY that someone from a Ministry here reads this post, calls me, grants me commercial registration in MY NAME, takes away sponsorship restrictions from me, lets me OWN my business and home and activities AND makes me feel at HOME. I honestly wish this. Because , this will get many Saudis JOBS! I mean, MANY. This will enable me to groom talent and help many locals to create their own setups and raise their incomes.
We need to allow the establishment of many small to medium-sized businesses of all kinds to combat the frustration of unemployment and not leave CRIME as the only way out for someone in need…
Come on guys.. THINK!