A legitimate concern of Saudization


 “Back in the eighties the growing infrastructure of this country and the challenges we faced was of such magnitude that we all pitched in to put forth a quality service product. In the early nineties, things started to change. The expatriates were gradually replaced with Saudis, some from within and some who were appointed from outside the company. And it was then that the seeds of incompetence were sown.”

SAMIR, a Saudi, has been working with a national civil organization that serves a large sector of the population Kingdomwide.

A chance encounter with this long time acquaintance last week brought forth revelations about the inner workings of this government organization whose primary mandate is to serve the public.

Samir is retiring soon. And he is visibly relieved and elated. After 32 years of service in that particular company, he is counting the remaining days until he bids a final farewell to an organization to which he has given his all. During our talks, I wondered whether there were any slight misgivings among all that joy.

“Oh yes, Tariq, there have been many, but they are no longer my concern. I am leaving and let those who remain attempt to sort out the mess we have become. I can no longer fight against an immovable brick wall of incompetence and that I have had to put up for many years.”

Ma'assalama

When asked to elaborate, Samir continued, “I joined this organization when it was vibrant and dynamic. Primarily foreigners who in the capacity of advisers were not hesitant to recognize local talent and allow it to develop and flourish steered this company. If you were good, you stood out and moved forward. And if you were not, then you were quickly shown the proverbial door.

 “Back in the eighties the growing infrastructure of this country and the challenges we faced was of such magnitude that we all pitched in to put forth a quality service product. In the early nineties, things started to change. The expatriates were gradually replaced with Saudis, some from within and some who were appointed from outside the company. And it was then that the seeds of incompetence were sown.”

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Note:  The author Mr. Tariq Al-Maeena is an independent columnist of Arab News and western-educated Saudi. He has been actively involved in people, production and logistics for more than 30 years both in the USA and in Saudi Arabia.  He is an experienced professional with a proven track record of turning around a failing venture into a productive and profitable enterprise through constructive team-work and worker participation. He was also the author of  Arab News article titled  “When the Color is Red“.

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