Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Goldsmiths and jewelers in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, are calling for the reduction of the rate of Saudization [national policy adopted by Saudia Arabia with the aim of encouraging the employment of Saudi nationals in the private sector which had formerly been dominated by foreign expatriate workers] in gold and jewelry workshops and factories. Moreover, they are demanding foreign expertise to train Saudi employees.
The precious metal committee at Riyadh’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has affirmed in a recent meeting that it was difficult for the gold and jewelry shops to fully meet the Saudization target on account of a number of factors, the most prominent of which are the lack of skilled and reliable national cadres, the high turnover among the young Saudi employees in the gold shops due to the scarcity of attractions in the sector, add to that the long working hours and the fact that they work seven days a week. As a result, many youth regard it as a temporary job until they are able to secure a better one. Gold dealers have been calling for taking off Friday as a holiday and closing down all the gold shops on that day.
Among their demands, they stressed the need for having at least one skilled foreign worker to be in charge of buying and selling and training unskilled Saudi workers in each of the shops. They added that the reduction of custom tariffs on jewels and gold jewelry would reflect positively on the market turnover and the country’s gold consumption, moreover helping to minimize the national capital drain by turning it into investments in the gold and jewelry businesses in the neighboring countries. Additionally, they believed it would also help reduce the trafficking and illegal sale of jewelry on Saudi markets.
During the meeting, gold dealers raised the prevalent theft phenomenon and emphasized the importance of providing security for the shops. The called for the standardization of the gold stamp between dealers and importers thus enabling them to trace fake products. Among their demands were the organization of a gold and jewelry exhibition in Saudi Arabia and the formulation of an appropriate mechanism by the concerned parties to facilitate the entry of articles for the exhibition. Saudi Arabia’s gold and jewelry market ranks fourth in the Middle East in terms of consumption with transactions reaching 9.75 billion Saudi Riyals (SAR).
Deputy Secretary-General of the RCCI, Hamad al Humaidan, stressed the necessity of holding such large-scale meetings to exchange views and review problems facing employees in the gold and jewelry business with the aim of boosting the gold market in Saudi Arabia. He added that it would also help remove obstacles facing gold- and jewelry- dealers and makers, furthermore expressing the committee’s desire to attract new members who have experience in the jewelry business.