The Story Continues – 7 Years Later! (Article was July 16th 2003)!!!

Episode 12 – Between Us Only! Book

Good Ideas, But Bad Implementation

(Or The Land Rover Story!)

(Original Version).

July 16th 2003

The Land Rover was a pioneering ingenious 4-wheeler innovation that took the world by storm in its launch into the market. Today it has been left far behind by its competitors, simply because its makers thought that they had ‘a very good thing here’ and there was no ‘need to change anything in it’ until it was too late!

 ***

Now before some of you start to jump on me and say he ‘oh now he is going to write on cars – his expensive hobby syndrome thing’, please read on!

 Almost everyone knows that the Land Rover was a pioneering ingenious 4-wheeler innovation that took the world by storm in its launch into the market. The fact that today, long since its launch, it is still used by all Militaries and Armies of the world, from Europe to Africa etc, is its worthiness and credibility as a very worthwhile invention and useful tool and in its practicability. There are still some areas in Africa where the Land Rover ‘can only access and reigns supreme’ and is still preferred by even the non-army and military, and especially by the Locals too.

 Then the Japanese launched the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Nissan Patrol (especially – though others are perhaps there too). They caught the world by a storm – and they not only beat up the Land Rover, but became the preferred choice of many discerning

4-wheeler customers all over the world, especially in the Gulf Countries. Although Land Rover tried to launch other versions of its vehicle later on, its lead on the market fell down badly and has never been able to recover again in the non-army market!

 Why was the Land Rover left behind one can ask? It is a sturdy reliable powerful ‘go anywhere any time vehicle’. But it is a ‘rough built sturdy vehicle’ (original 109 and 110 series), and those who built it thought they had an established niche market and there was no need to change anything for it, even when they saw competition take over by a storm! In most ‘rich high profile homes’ today in the Gulf there is a Land Cruiser or a Nissan Patrol from the Japanese (and others like the Pajero, Suzuki, Jeep, and the Korean versions, Range Rover etc may also be there) – the preferred choice though admittedly still remains the Land Cruiser and the Nissan Patrol in that order! Without no doubt (my first 4-wheeler purchase was a Land Cruiser too!).

 Now some of you maybe asking what ‘tie or relevance’ have these 4-wheelers got to do with the ‘good ideas but implementation practices’ as subject matter of today? It is simple. Let us look at our case in Oman today.

We were one of the first countries in the Gulf and Arab world to allow universal suffrage – women voted here where even in some other countries are still anticipating and dreaming of being ‘allowed to drive’ – even though they might have driving licenses of other countries, but not of their own (sic! And double sic too!). Women in our country not only can drive, but can stand for political positions in the Majlis Shura. They are already as Minister, Under Secretaries, CEOs, businesses – you name it! In the army, police and other security apparatus too! Blessed our country – this without any discrimination, bias, apathy or ‘macho treatment’ from their male compatriots.

 We have introduced in Oman things that others have still to follow, like the State Council, joint sessions of it and the Majlis Shura, His Majesty annual meet the public tour, access and freedom of expression in the media for the public (not only for locals but even for the residents too). Each guest in the country, whether resident or passing through tourist, is adhered, respected and given welcome and good treatment,  equitable respect and treatment, and made to feel welcome and at ‘second home’ too – without any bias, discrimination or any foul vile bad treatment of any kind.

 We have introduced innovations others have still to follow like the Oman Development Bank, PEIE, OCIPED, Youth Fund, and the Sanad Project etc. Omanisation of jobs have gone hand in hand to still attract investments (and their encouragement and protection too). This and maintaining efficiency and quality all around.  The Muscat Municipality receives always ‘best services’ for these services rendered to the public. The ROP are the citizens ‘best served friends’ (one Gulf citizen has personally told me he has never seen such disciplined helpful hands, when they even had volunteered to help change his burst tire on his trip to Salalah!). Disciplined professional army and security apparatus. So many nice things, so many innovations, so many Firsts so many ingenious innovations and creations etc.

 Yet why are some sectors of the Public grudgingly not satisfied or happy? I am talking here of the poor local Oman investor, who continuously and endlessly meets subjugation, competition and blockages and hindrances from more few powerful forces – that it has now reached really unsatisfactory unpractical, unprofessional and unethical not to be allowed anymore levels. Intolerable and ‘over the saturation levels!

 Their disenchantment, dissatisfaction, frustrations and anger, disfranchisement is increasing day by day. Not only peoples are not entering this market anymore, but many have closed down, not by voluntary choice – but there was no other choice but to do that. It is not a question of lack of business volume or opportunities only. It is not either a question of the economy being down per se only, but more of difficult bureaucratic policies and practices (many unethical and unprofessional too!). Lack of patience, perseverance, compassion, humanity, feelings and understandings. Worse are even the commercial banks are joining the league ‘to beat up and batter’ the poor local Omani investor in the market.

 There is unfairness and not ‘allowed to enter, compete and survive in the market. There is no apparatus to encourage the business opportunities for the local investor. Even now the big giants start going after each other, like the BMW Agency. And they say ‘when the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled’ – the grass being the poor local investor here!

 Woe, trouble and misery to the local business that had collapsed – I know that from my personal experiences – when I wanted to run consultancy services in Human Resources, Training and Development, Omanisation, It etc. You would think with such ‘catchy phrases’ daily being repeated and being encouraged in the media you would be ready in business running fast, but the truth is quite adverse and different.

 And then when you fail that is not the end of it. The banks will pursue you cruelly and mercilessly – no compassion feelings of any kind! Then the same coming you’re your ex-customers whom you gave businesses before and paid on time too. Cruelly, mercilessly, no barrels held! Other customers will not pay for services rendered to them, even so-called powerful business centers with big golden big names of their establishments.

 Putting you more in dire difficulties and hardships, to really unbearable levels (sometimes you even wish you had died – especially when the banks even ‘freeze’ your only pension salary and you have to leave on alms and charities from friends). You would never imagine that things can happen to you, priding yourself being in a Muslim and Arab environment. And everyone knows in Oman you do not get cars unless you issue PDCs (Post Dated Cheques). And for Office rents. And so many other things. Misery and woe to you. And only God can help you if you are in this situation. Who else can?

 Oman was and has been always a generation of small traders, it is in our blood – our customs, traditions, culture and heritage.

It is high time something is done to encourage and protect the poor small Omani local investor, before it is too late! For everyone!

 End

My Question Today is this – As a Parent, is it okay to just favour (or like more) the poorer of your siblings? And ignore the rest?

Again the point of Bad Advisory Elements ……

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