The New Saudi Arabia

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The land of dreams

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Time: October 01, 2018   

Okaz newspaper 

There is no doubt that things are changing, since Saudis who were hypnotized with money filling up foreigners’ pockets are now on alert.

FOR many years Saudi Arabia has been the land of chances, hope and dreams for millions of young men and families from all over the world. They flocked into Saudi Arabia as early as 1950s. They have been working in our stores, factories and companies in order to build a bright future for them and their families. Their countries and cities flourished after they started sending large amount of money back to their countries.

Saudi Arabia was in a state of rapid growth and was almost an undemanding land of business and trade. It was also a vast land with cities and villages interspersed and it needed development in every corner. Luckily, the burst of oil was the main treasure that helped Saudi Arabia’s economy and development.

The most difficult thing Saudi Arabia faced with its massive development plans was the scarcity of labor, which was an essential component of meeting the needs of rapid growth and large-scale projects. The other difficulty was the absence of buildings. Saudi Arabia had to deal with its arid land and undeveloped cities, as well as lack of water, asphalted roads, education, industry, construction, trade, and most of all healthcare. The cost of providing the basic necessities was double, and cutting down the time required for building the infrastructure made it more costly.

Saudi Arabia was forced to recruit tens of thousands of laborers, experts and technicians to fulfill its dream of achieving sustainable development for its people. This helped society to move away from poverty to one of the wealthiest states in the world. All things considered, it was an opportunity for the willing youth from the Philippines eastward and to America in the west to lay their feet on this land of dreams. The only thing that was needed was a work visa to reach the country. Expats spent many years working and in return they flew back to their countries with pockets loaded with their savings.

Some of those who came to Saudi Arabia with nothing turned millionaires in the world of business and finance. Others became rulers, heads of government or ministers in their countries. Of course this was due to the huge wealth they made working in Saudi Arabia, possibly because the law did not mind turning ambitious and enterprising foreigners into big businessmen.

It did not take new expats more than a few days or weeks to find a job in the Kingdom, whether they were diligent laborers or managers at the biggest of companies. All what they had to do was work hard and seize the opportunities they got one after another, as there were no taxes or fees to pay, which made Saudi Arabia an inexpensive place to live in.

I have always been wondering how expat workers were so fearless about finding a job in the Kingdom. These diligent people were convinced that new opportunities would be born every day in this land of dreams.

There is no doubt that things are changing, since Saudis who were hypnotized with money filling up foreigners’ pockets are now on alert. They no longer accept the fact of draining their money and ending it up in someone’s bank account. This reluctance has not done them any favor, and that is why they need to take further steps to regain their fortunes.

Future projects and plans in Saudi Arabia will help improve people’s lives based on quality standards, which will generate millions of small and big opportunities. In addition, there is certainly an economic and political policy that has begun to restructure the labor market and entrepreneurial opportunities. In fact, this will bolster the national economy and money will flow into the pockets of Saudis, instead of expats who transfer huge amounts abroad.

The most important question will possibly be: Is Saudi Arabia still considered to be the land of opportunities and dreams as it has been throughout the last half century?

With no doubt, Saudi Arabia is still and will always remain a land of dreams, holding an astonishing future with all the enormous elements it has. We will discover many more with new projects such as Qiddiya, Neom, Islands of the Red Sea, Jeddah Town, Al-Ula, Al-Diriyah, and the Umrah and tourism programs. It is important to realize that these projects and programs are intended to exploit the precious treasures and give Saudis the priority to enjoy them in the Land of Dreams.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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