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Jobs at grocery stores will soon become 100 percent 'Saudized,' according to a draft decision being prepared by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD).

The draft seeks to ban non-Saudis from working in grocery stores, confectionery shops and those selling supply and consumer goods, according to local daily Al-Madina, which quotes sources from the ministry.

This comes in line with the kingdom's plans to boost employment among the kingdom's local population, especially in the private sector. 

The ministry's decision will see jobs in all shops selling consumers goods become exclusive to Saudi nationals. 

The restrictions are expected to create 20,000 job opportunities for Saudis during the first year of implementation. 

According to the Saudi Gazette, the Shura Council, the kingdom's Consultative Assembly, recently asked the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs to shut down small supply stores and restrict retail licenses to large-scale stores capable of employing large numbers of Saudi employees.

The ministry is also considering to limit roles in food and drink mobile vans, as well as car rental offices, to Saudis, opening up additional jobs for locals.

Saudization efforts in full force

The kingdom has been intensifying its efforts to boost employment opportunities for Saudi nationals under the kingdom's new vision 2030. 

The ambitious blueprint aims to fight unemployment, develop non-oil industries, support small and medium enterprises, and create a broader investment base in the kingdom.

Aiming at boosting employment among the kingdom's local population, especially in the private sector, and cutting down unemployment rates from 11.6 percent to 7 percent, the kingdom has been restricting job opportunities available to expatriates. 

Under the job nationalization (Saudization) plan, Saudi Arabia blocked foreigners from working in shopping malls earlier this year.

In May, the kingdom's Ministry of Civil Service asked all ministries and government departments to terminate all contracts with expatriate workers within three years.

Consequently, 670,000 expats are expected to leave the kingdom by 2020, according to a report published by Banque Saudi Fransi earlier this month