Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bad call


Picture: The Executive Director of the Sanad program "inaugurating" a Khimji Mart supermarket in Madinat Qaboos.

According to the Oman Chamber of Commerce website and Omanet (the government's official information website), Sanad is a fund for supporting and developing small projects. The fund provides loans to unemployed Omanis between the ages of 18 and 40 to develop and own their own businesses. The fund works with the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Manpower, and in fact both ministers are on the fund's board of directors. To put it in simple terms every year the Ministry of Manpower adds certain professions in certain areas to the Omanisation list, and the fund trains and finances Omanis to takeover those jobs. This has been most visible in one particular area: grocery shops.

As I have written before, the Omanisation of grocery shops has forced most of the Indians who used to run neighborhood grocery shops and corner shops to close down. Unfortunately, at least where I live, I haven't seen any Omanis take up the opportunity to open shops where the Indians used to be. This has become a boon to supermarkets and gas station convenience stores. And now, some of the supermarket chains have decided to open smaller stores in the middle of residential areas. For example Al Fair has announced plans to open a few small stores in 2006. And here we have an example of Khimji Mart, a supermarket that only had a handful of stores for more than a decade but which in the last year has expanded at a very fast pace outside the capital in areas where the Omanisation of grocery stores has eliminated competition. And now they're in Madinat Qaboos. And they have the head of Sanad opening their store! Good PR for Khimji Mart, very bad PR for Sanad. Bad call, dude.

You might want to read this)


Devilish said...

Isnt Khimji one of the main sponsors of the Sinad program, n main supplier for most of the new Omani grocery stores in the interior !?

muscati said...

Yep. There are 5 companies that sponsor the Sanad program and Khimji is one of them. They are all huge FMCG distributors and some of them like Khimji also run their own supermarkets or stores. I don't know if "sponsor" is the right word though because they actually make money out of it. I'm not sure if they get paid for training the Omanis on how to run their own convenience stores, but they do make money from supplying them with the stuff they sell.

It's a good deal, and a good idea as well. But the implementation isn't that good. But I still think it's a bad call for the head of Sanad to be the guest of honor opening a supermarket, especially when Sanad aims to give grocery store ownership to young un-employed Omanis, not to large corporations like Khimji.

x~nezitiC said...

Khimji is just giving more jobs to Indians, am I right? or it's not true any more? he is Indian as far as I know.

And about the giving loans to the youth to have their own business, is there any interest rate to pay back?


NiGhTFaCe said...

No wonder, always the things get into the opposite.

Are we going to see Omanis working in the store?!

muscati said...

I think the job of supermarket checkout/cashier is already Omanized, so the Khimji Mart should have Omanis working there.

TI3GIB said...

Muscsti, I'm quite sure it's me .. But I can't see what the problem is, You hvan'e mentioned anything regarding a "bad-call" ...

calkoon said...

The Sanad program gives the perception that something is being done to help small business, but in reality small business are deprived of funds to grow.

Was the inclusion of Khimji as a sponcer of the Sanad program aimed at curbing Khimji's growth...? I doubt it.

I think they've position them selves perfectly to know where they shouldn't go and where the oppertunities are.

Khimji Marts main competitors are City Center, LULU, Al-Fair and Sultan Center..... not the small grocery store. It's a forgone conclusion that small Sanad grocery stores cannot compete with large supermarkets.

Nameless said...

I must confess that I thought I was a little delusional when I saw this article on the papers.

I have to agree with muscati on this one. IT JUST didnt make sense to me.

TI3GIB said...

Muscati, I swear i'm not trying to be my usual bitchy self, but you say it's a bad call but you do not provide rational reason for why is it a bad reason.

Why is it considered a problem if the head of Sanad opens something. It's an event and it doesn't matter the nature of his attendance.

I'm sorry Muscati, but this bad call you speak of is NON existant

muscati said...

Ti3gib - I have nothing against a company making a sound business decision. Khimji Mart saw a market opportunity and decided to take advantage of it. But regardless whether Khimji was a sponsor of the Sanad program or not, and regardless of how many Omanis are employed in this new store, I think it's a bad call for the head of the Sanad program to agree to be the guest of honor at the opening a supermarket store that's part of a chain when the Sanad programs aims at training Omanis for self-employment, particularly owning their own grocery stores.

Imagine you were heading a program that trains Omanis to own and run their own coffeeshops. What kind of image would you projecting if you accept an invitation to be the guest of honor at the opening of Kargeen's new location? You might be best friends with Kargeen's owner. You might be a daily customer at Kargeen. Maybe Kargeen even helps you train some of the Omanis in your program. But you would still probably tell yourself "hey, maybe it's not a good idea for me to accept this. It's would send a wrong message".

Anyhow, bygones.

Kitab said...

Khimji is Omani Mr. Mascati. didn't you know this !

muscati said...

Kitab - I didn't say that Khimji weren't Omani. The fact is that the Sanad program is about self-employment. It is the opposite of huge chains hiring Omanis. It is about Omanis starting their own small businesses and then hiring other Omanis.

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