Saudis or non-Saudis, I need to state that the details of the economy, here, are based on salaries. No other main sources are clearly streaming the financial scene. There isn’t tourism in the broader meaning. There is no industry, other than oil of course. There is no development of local branding, etc.
We need to think beyond ‘the largest farms for dairy products in the Arab world’ and ‘the biggest land of date industry’. This is not helping any more, and it’s making it even harder to move forward. It is very important to realize now that more space to a systematically growable economy should be allowed. Why do we have to keep on relying mainly on the governmental budget?
I know, and those who run the ‘payoff’ economy know better, that there are projects that target the salary only. (retailing, for example). These can never be taken as a plus to the socioeconomic life in Saudi Arabia. The focus and support in the next few years should be given to tourism, education, training and local branding. There are other areas that may seem equally important to these, but we need those in order to move to research, academics and so on. Did any Saudi economical decision maker ask himself: Why most of the population is either employed or seeking jobs? Why isn’t there a percentage of self-employed individuals, Saudis or non-Saudis, that we could be proud of announcing?
— The writer is Chairman of the Saudi Cartoon & Animation Society