dailypeghamJEDDAH (Web Desk) – The Saudi government has reportedly been unable to replace a large number of expatriate workers in Jeddah’s Palestine Street – the city’s most famous cellphone market – with Saudis.

This year in March, the Labor and Social Development Ministry had announced the plan to Saudize the cellphone sector.

However, citizens quoted by Araba News have claimed that there was a large contingent of expatriate workers in the area, in violation of the efforts to replace them with Saudis as stipulated by the government.

“I was surprised to find foreign workers completely dominating the market,” said Ahmad Abdul Majid, a customer. “I had thought I would find Saudi workers in these shops but things were still the same. Nothing has changed, expats are still dominating the market,” he added.

Sami Al-Ghamdi said there was little sign of Saudi employees. “There is complete domination by expatriates while the ministry and other parties remain silent.”

He said that nothing has been done to employ young Saudis despite the visits of the minister and his officials to the market.

A sales official at one shop said that the ministry was focused on big companies while ignoring small shops. The big companies have committed themselves to employing Saudis, he was quoted as saying.

Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, director of the media center at the ministry in Makkah, denied allegations that there was only a focus on large firms, and said raids would continue throughout the region. “More than 144 inspectors are on the ground in the telecommunications sector, and ensuring Saudization,” he said.