SR36bn deals signed to develop Waad Al-Shamal Industrial City

Updated 20 May 2014
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SR36bn deals signed to develop Waad Al-Shamal Industrial City

Agreements worth SR36 billion were signed on Tuesday to develop Waad Al-Shamal Industrial City in the north, which is named after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, and establish a number of industrial projects.
Northern Border Province Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen attended the event.
Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) signed an agreement with the Canadian company SNC Lavalin and Chinese Sinopec to establish a sulfuric acid plant in the city. It signed another contract with China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Corp. to build an ore beneficiation plant.
Maaden also signed an agreement with South Korea's Hanwha Engineering & Construction Co. to build a phosphoric acid plant at a cost of SR3.5 billion. The plant will have a production capacity of 1.5 million tons.
Maaden also signed a deal with a Korean company to set up an ammonia plant, and another deal with a Spanish company to establish a phosphoric fertilizer plant, an official statement said.
Other agreements were to construct the main road to the city, establish a transformer, build a power supply line and set out technical specifications for an electricity power plant. The Saudi Ports Authority signed a contract to build a wharf at Ras Al-Khair Port.
Finance Minister Al-Assaf signed a deal with a specialized company to provide consultancy services for building a railway line linking Waad Al-Shamal city with Ras Al-Khair Port and Jubail Industrial Port.
Deals were also signed between Saudi Aramco and Maaden and the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals with the Ministry of Water and Electricity.
Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, Prince Abdullah said the new projects would create more job opportunities for citizens and enhance their welfare. He thanked King Abdullah for his support for Waad Al-Shamal industrial city project.
In a similar statement, Al-Naimi said the project was planned as part of the government’s efforts to diversify revenue sources. “Total investments in industries and other projects in the city will cross SR36 billion,” he said.
Al-Assaf, who is also chairman of Public Investment Fund, said the new projects would help sustainable development in the region. “It will create a strong base for economic development and promote the progress and prosperity of citizens.”
Maaden previously awarded two contracts; one for general engineering plan and infrastructure services for the city and the second for providing engineering designs and management services for the  phosphate project.
 The first contract was awarded to Bechtel Company, which will prepare the general engineering plan of the city including basic, downstream and support industries. It will also carry out plans for commercial, housing and educational facilities.
The second contract was awarded to Jacobs Company, which will provide engineering designs and management services for the phosphate project.
Maaden's President and CEO Khalid Mudaifer said the contracts were considered basic steps for the implementation of the city.
 Maaden plans to invest SR26 billion for the establishment of a mega phosphate industry complex of which SR21 billion has been earmarked for setting up 7 projects in Waad Al-Shamal City for Mining Industries.


Palestinians in financial crisis after Israel, US moves

Updated 22 March 2019
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Palestinians in financial crisis after Israel, US moves

  • A Ramallah-based economics professor said the Palestinian economy more generally, remain totally controlled by and reliant on Israel
  • Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: The Palestinian Authority faces a suffocating financial crisis after deep US aid cuts and an Israeli move to withhold tax transfers, sparking fears for the stability of the West Bank.
The authority, headed by President Mahmud Abbas, announced a package of emergency measures on March 10, including halving the salaries of many civil servants.
The United States has cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid in the last year, though only a fraction of that went directly to the PA.
The PA has decided to refuse what little US aid remains on offer for fear of civil suits under new legislation passed by Congress.
Israel has also announced it intends to deduct around $10 million a month in taxes it collects for the PA in a dispute over payments to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails.
In response, Abbas has refused to receive any funds at all, labelling the Israeli reductions theft.
That will leave his government with a monthly shortfall of around $190 million for the length of the crisis.
The money makes up more than 50 percent of the PA’s monthly revenues, with other funds coming from local taxes and foreign aid.

While the impact of the cuts is still being assessed, analysts fear it could affect the stability of the occupied West Bank.
“If the economic situation remains so difficult and the PA is unable to pay salaries and provide services, in addition to continuing (Israeli) settlement expansion it will lead to an explosion,” political analyst Jihad Harb said.
Abbas cut off relations with the US administration after President Donald Trump declared the disputed city of Jerusalem Israel’s capital in December 2017.
The right-wing Israeli government, strongly backed by the US, has since sought to squeeze Abbas.
After a deadly anti-Israeli attack last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would withhold $138 million (123 million euros) in Palestinian revenues over the course of a year.
Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through its ports, and then transfers the money to the PA.
Israel said the amount it intended to withhold was equal to what is paid by the PA to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis last year.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes of the fight against Israeli occupation.
Israel says the payments encourage further violence.
Abbas recently accused Netanyahu’s government of causing a “crippling economic crisis in the Palestinian Authority.”
The PA also said in January it would refuse all further US government aid for fear of lawsuits under new US legislation targeting alleged support for “terrorism.”

Finance Minister Shukri Bishara announced earlier this month he had been forced to “adopt an emergency budget that includes restricted austerity measures.”
Government employees paid over 2,000 shekels ($555) will receive only half their salaries until further notice.
Prisoner payments would continue in full, Bishara added.
Nasser Abdel Karim, a Ramallah-based economics professor, told AFP the PA, and the Palestinian economy more generally, remain totally controlled by and reliant on Israel.
The PA undertook similar financial measures in 2012 when Israel withheld taxes over Palestinian efforts to gain international recognition at the United Nations.
Abdel Karim said such crises are “repeated and disappear according to the development of the relationship between the Palestinian Authority and Israel or the countries that support (the PA).”
Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including now annexed east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and Abbas’s government has only limited autonomy in West Bank towns and cities.
“The problem is the lack of cash,” economic journalist Jafar Sadaqa told AFP.
He said that while the PA had faced financial crises before, “this time is different because it comes as a cumulative result of political decisions taken by the United States.”
Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on March 10 to head a new government to oversee the crisis.
Abdel Karim believes the crisis could worsen after an Israeli general election next month “if a more right-wing Israeli government wins.”
Netanyahu’s outgoing government is already regarded as the most right-wing in Israel’s history but on April 9 parties even further to the right have a realistic chance of winning seats in parliament for the first time.
Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014, when a drive for a deal by the administration of President Barack Obama collapsed in the face of persistent Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.