Saudi Vision 2030
AFTER the launch of the official Twitter account of “Saudi Vision 2030,” we all are waiting for April 25 with bated breaths. On this day, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will announce important policy matters shaping up the future of the Kingdom.
Since the launch of the Saudi Vision 2030 Twitter account, the number of followers has exceeded 127,000 and we are still counting. The extensive program to be announced on April 25 will have a far-reaching effect on the overall socioeconomic development of the Kingdom. In simple words, it is a 15-year development program designed to cope with the fast-evolving situation at the regional and international levels.
Since its establishment in 1970, the Ministry of Planning has so far announced nine five-year plans. However, ministries and government departments usually draw up their development plans separately and independent from other agencies.
Today, the situation is different. The national transformation program is set to bring about a massive change in the way such programs are planned and executed. Now all ministries and agencies have been interlinked to carry out this huge transformation together.
With the help of local and foreign experts, all departments will address the issues hindering their smooth functioning and come up with solutions and joint strategies for effective resolution of those problems.
With that, the era where each agency draws up its plan individually is over and we are about to see a new day on Monday, or “Saudi Vision 2030.”
We look forward to seeing this dream representing aspirations of leadership and ambitions of citizens coming true.
— By Ibrahim Mohammed Badawood
THE national transformation program, launched by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is a new approach aimed at the diversification of economy.
The program is composed of comprehensive measures that aim at transforming the Saudi economy into a knowledge-based economy to avoid dependence on oil as a key resource for economic growth.
In addition to this the Kingdom is making all-out efforts to boost the development program and to increase its contribution to the global competitive environment through the activation of the national transformation program.
To achieve the objectives of the program, the Kingdom has to shift to knowledge-based economy in all sectors, which will be conducive to drive development, generate jobs and create a social environment attractive to the local talent. This shift necessitates focusing on the development of human resources.
The idea of a knowledge-based economy rests on three pillars: Education, human resources and technology.
The transition to a knowledge-based economy will bring about new hopes and will help create economic opportunities. However, this will not be attainable unless there is a creative management that believes in change, adapts to new developments and protects economy from dependence on one resource i.e. oil.
— By Zakiyya Ibrahim Al-Hajji
Saudi-US ties remain vital
RECENTLY, US President Barack Obama visited the Kingdom during which he discussed with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman a host of regional and international issues particularly terrorism and the situations in Syria and Yemen.
The visit came amid media uproar in the United States over a legislation obliging the Kingdom to pay financial compensations to the victims of 9/11 attacks. In addition to that reports about the US Congress moving to release a 28-page report on the 9/11 attacks were also doing the rounds in the mainstream US media. All these are unnecessary attempts to drag the Kingdom into the issue.
In this context, former Saudi envoys in Washington, Prince Turki Al-Faisal and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said publication of these pages was better than hiding them because pressure groups might have exploited their ambiguity, if not published, in shifting the American public opinion against the Kingdom.
In his recent visit to Washington, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir has warned that the approval of the bill would force Riyadh to sell American treasury bonds worth $750bn in addition to other assets owned by the Kingdom in the United States.
Commenting on the issue, US President Obama expressed in an interview with CBS TV network his opposition to the issuance of such a bill. To that end, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he was confident that the Saudis, just like Americans, appreciate their common interests in maintaining stability of global financial system.
Despite the media uproar, the Saudi-US relations will remain vital for the great good of both parties in the Middle East. The two sides will continue cooperating in areas related to terrorism and security.
— By Fadila Al-Jaffal
Center of global attention
RIYADH has always been the center of global attention due to its importance in the Middle East. However, last week the city witnessed a flurry of diplomatic activities.
According to observers, the US-GCC summit heralded a new era for US relations with the Gulf region in the post-Iran nuclear deal era.
The two sides were keen to give a new momentum to relations in terms of bolstering economic cooperation and fight against terrorism, with a special reference to Iran’s acts in destabilizing security in the region.
The GCC’s appreciation of its relations with the US was clear in the address of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and, likewise, the address of President Barack Obama who pledged to deter any aggression against the GCC countries.
President Obama also assured his Gulf allies of a strong US stand against any power imbalance that may expose the GCC countries to any threat adding that the nuclear deal with Iran does not mean that it can do what it likes.
The two sides, further, are aware of the threat posed by extremist organizations, notably Daesh, to the international security.
In this context, the Kingdom’s keenness to join ground operations in Syria against Daesh was a clear indication of its commitment in fight against terrorism.
— By Aiman Al-Hammadi
Crime and punishment
A few days ago, a provocative video was displayed on the social media showing a group of students of some private schools in Riyadh poking fun at their teacher.
So far the Ministry of Education did not take any concrete action. According to initial reports, the ministry has launched a probe into the incident and vowed to take strict disciplinary action against those students.
Another similar incident occurred in Aflaj when a school principal was hurt in his hand during an inspection session of his students.
Unfortunately, the ministry’s reactions to these incidents are very slow and, sometimes, the response is weaker than expectations, which encourage such students to continue with their rowdy behavior.
The Ministry of Education is the sole body meant to curb these deviant behaviors and impose punishments. On the other hand, strict actions are immediately taken against teachers who misuse rights of students. This was practically seen in one of Jeddah private schools when an Arab teacher’s contract was terminated following his assault on one of his students.
— By Abu Lujain Ibrahim Al-Dahman
Streamlining data, services
ACCORDING to the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), there are 53 million mobile phone subscribers in the Kingdom. These figures pertain to the year 2015.
In a bid to streamline the data and telecom services, all mobile phone subscribers in the Kingdom have been asked to provide their fingerprints. A deadline has been set for this purpose. Knowing the importance of such a step, the time given for fingerprint registration was short compared to the numbers of subscribers, notably with repeated technical problems associated with the registration process in telecom companies’ offices.
The current mechanism has led to huge crowds in and around telecom offices and harmed interests of people due to long time required to reach fingerprint registration machines.
Alternatively, the CITC could have sought other solutions to make the process easier for subscribers. As a government agency, the CITC could make use of the “Absher” system of the Ministry of Interior. The CITC also could benefit from telecom applications available in smart devices, which can support fingerprinting process.
— By Hail Al-Shammari