Economic development council unveils transformation initiatives

Updated 26 December 2015
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Economic development council unveils transformation initiatives

RIYADH: As part of the Kingdom’s National Transformation Project, the Council of Economic and Development Affairs is currently working in coordination with government authorities to set in place a strategic implementation plan to increase national economic outputs and launch a series of economic regulations soon.

Officials met for eight consecutive hours at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh last week to discuss proposals and recommendations for initiatives of the National Transformation Project, which will be launched in the Kingdom in 2020.
The project will include programs for the evaluation of the performance of ministers, including execution of plans and meeting requested outputs.
During the meeting, ministers explained different sides and ideas related to the programs, while Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Prince Mohammed bin Salman responded to questions from attendees and described elements of the program.
The project will focus on implementing successful plans to limit the Kingdom’s economic dependence on oil alone, supporting long-term projects for the Kingdom, as well as increasing the performance of government, fighting corruption, increasing employment of Saudis, re-establishing priorities, equipping cities with the appropriate environment to realize national goals, and developing the health and municipal sectors.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasized the Kingdom’s keenness to attract investment in mining by easing restrictions and obstacles, and dealing fairly with investors to find alternatives to the decreasing price of oil, as well as benefiting from the economies of Haj and Umrah by improving the basic infrastructure in the Kingdom to accommodate visitors.
Saudi authorities, in cooperation with experts from the United Nations, also worked on drafting 1,000 key performance indicators to monitor the performance of goals and policies in the 10th five-year development plan (2015-2019), with these indicators focusing on governance, bad practices and corruption.
A dashboard was also prepared to display statistics and reports to disclose the level of ministerial performance, as well as their level of compliance with realizing goals and policies set by higher authorities.
As for whether key performance indicators may involve any loopholes that allow for manipulation of information, a high-level source confirmed that the system is based on a “a higher state decision, not a sectoral one, and thus cannot be controlled by any implementing body,” noting that the dashboard will be a real challenge because it means ministries must improve their performance.
Meanwhile, other sources revealed higher authorities are taking a decision to form a national council to follow up on the performance of ministries, agencies, or authorities tasked with implementing the development plans. The key performance indicator regulations will be followed up by the prime minister via the dashboard display to address any faults in the performance of ministers, organizations, or authorities tasked with implementing developmental plans.
Key performance indicators will display and clarify data at the national level related to economic development, inflation, unemployment, and good governance, as well as the performance of ministries.


Saudi Red Sea project to offer visa on arrival for tourists

Updated 27 May 2018
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Saudi Red Sea project to offer visa on arrival for tourists

  • Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project has been registered as a standalone company
  • The venture will be will be headed by John Pagano, former director of London’s Canary Wharf business zone

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea project will offer visas on arrival for overseas visitors following the creation of a company to deliver the ambitious project.
The project marked a milestone on Sunday with its incorporation as a standalone closed joint-stock company, The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), wholly owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The company, which in October announced Virgin Group founder Richard Branson as one of its board members, on Sunday said it had recruited John Pagano, the former managing director of development for the UK’s Canary Wharf Group as its chief executive.
The newly-incorporated company will now move forward with the creation of its Special Economic Zone, with its own regulatory framework, it said in a statement.
The framework will be separate from the base economy, with a special emphasis on environmental sustainability, and will offering visa on entry, relaxed social norms, and improved business regulations.
“The destination will provide a unique sense of place for visitors and offer nature lovers, adventurers, cultural explorers and guests looking to escape and rejuvenate, a wide range of exclusive experiences, combining luxury, tranquillity, adventure and beautiful landscapes,” said Pagano.
The first phase of The Red Sea Project — which will occupy an area greater than the size of Belgium between the cities of Al-Wajh and Umluj — will include hotels and residential units, along with a new costal town, an airport and a marina, and is due for completion by late 2022, the company said.
Authorities hope the project will create as many as 35,000 jobs and contribute SR15 billion ($3.99 billion) to the local economy.
The project, unveiled last July by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is one of the key developments in Saudi Arabia’s strategy to develop its tourism sector, alongside Qiddiya, an entertainment resort near Riyadh that will be two-and-a-half times the size of Disney World.
The country’s Vision 2030 economic development plan is targeting the creation of 1.2 million new jobs in the Saudi tourism sector by 2030.