King Abdullah’s noble gesture greeted with delight, jubilation

Updated 08 July 2013
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King Abdullah’s noble gesture greeted with delight, jubilation

Diplomatic mission officials here from Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines responded to the extension of the grace period with delight and gratitude yesterday.
There was widespread praise for Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for issuing the royal decree that will extend the amnesty to Nov. 3, 2013 — an effective four-month extension.
Applauding the decision, Muhammad Naeem Khan, ambassador of Pakistan, said: “I would like to thank King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Interior for this concession.”
“King Abdullah is a king of humanity and cares a great deal for the Pakistani community,” Khan said. “I would like to thank all the relevant government departments for helping us sort out the status of members of the Pakistani community.”
He said the extension now allows the embassy more time to inform Pakistani workers to correct their status and find jobs. “We have a large number of companies wanting to employ Pakistani workers.”
“I would like to urge the Pakistani community, those who have not corrected their status, and those wanting to return to Pakistan, to not miss this golden opportunity and find employers. Those unable to find employment, should contact the embassy and consulate general in Jeddah. We will help them avoid any hardship.”
Hailing the decision, the Indian Embassy thanked King Abdullah for the extension, and the various ministries and the Indian volunteers who helped workers sort out their paperwork.
The embassy also urged all Indians who collected their emergency certificates and obtained exit visas to leave the country immediately.
Sibi George, deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy, told Arab News: “We wholeheartedly welcome the decision. It shows the humanitarian approach of the Saudi government.”
George said Saudi Arabia and India share strong and historic relations: “We will continue to work together.”
The Indian Embassy will continue its operations at deportation, labor offices and Riyadh airport, an embassy official said.
Thanking the king for extending the grace period, Filipino Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago, said: “I want to thank the Saudi ministers of interior, labor, foreign affairs and the Passport Department; and the Filipinos who had been very patient with the procedures involved in processing their papers to go home or correct their status.”
The envoy urged all workers “to correct their status as soon as possible and not wait until the last minute.”
“Undocumented Filipinos should immediately proceed to the concerned Saudi government agencies or the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh or consulate in Jeddah to seek assistance,” he said.
Back home in the Philippines, Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez also urged undocumented Filipinos to take advantage of the extension.
Indonesian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Gatot Abdullah Mansyur, said: “On behalf of the government and the people of Indonesia, I would like to thank the King for his order to extend the grace period.”
“I strongly believe that this extension will benefit both Saudis and foreign workers including Indonesian workers. I encourage Indonesian workers to do their best in correcting their status by fulfilling all requirements. I believe that all concerned authorities in Saudi Arabia will provide their best services to help make the King’s directive a success.”
Bangladesh Ambassador Mohammad Shahidul Islam was also grateful for the extension and thanked the Saudi government. “It provides a lot of time to clear the backlog,” he said.
The Sri Lankan Embassy also welcomed the extension of the amnesty deadline saying it would help expatriates correct their status in the Kingdom. Businesspeople have also welcomed the decision.


FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 22 August 2018
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FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.