Women 'ready for top Cabinet roles'

Updated 01 April 2014
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Women 'ready for top Cabinet roles'

Saudi women are capable of holding top positions like ministers of education, health, information and social affairs, said Hanan Al-Ahmadi, a member of the Shoura Council.
“Appointment on women to the Shoura Council is one of the important decisions taken in the history of Saudi Arabia,” she said.
In comments published in the Arabic press, she urged female Shoura members to rise up to the expectations of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah who took the historic decision to induct them to the consultative body.
“We have to do our best to make this experiment a big success.”
Abdulelah Saaty, dean of the College of Business in Rabigh, supported women’s demand to get top ministerial positions.
“We have a large number of educated and capable women with high leadership qualities and they deserve such positions to play a major role in the country’s development process,” he told Arab News while praising the king’s decision to appoint Nora bint Abdullah Al-Fayez as the country’s first deputy education minister.
Al-Ahmadi, who was placed 8th in a list of 30 powerful Saudi women published by Arabian Business, said women play a significant role inside the Shoura to take vital decisions concerning the society in general.
“Women members have been getting good support at the Shoura,” she said.
“The voice of women members had a big impact on social, educational and health issues,” she said, adding the media covers only a small portion of the Shoura discussions.
She, however, admitted that female Shoura members, like other Saudi women, have been facing several challenges like the need to get permission of male guardians to travel and apply for passport.
“This makes us more determined to challenge the rules and regulations that obstruct women empowerment.”
Al-Ahmadi backed the government’s move to employ Saudi women at lingerie and female garment shops, saying it was instrumental in creating more jobs for them.
“It also helped in correcting a major problem in our markets — the presence of salesmen in lingerie shops,” she said.
The Labor Ministry said it was starting the third phase of employing women in shops that sell women’s materials.
“The third phase will cover jobs at shops selling women’s perfumes, shoes, gowns, bags and materials of mother and child care and will be implemented gradually in 48 months,” it said.


Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes. (SPA)
Updated 26 min 38 sec ago
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Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

  • Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh

RIYADH: A new website has been set up to support a housing project for 10,000 units in the Kingdom.
Housing Minister Majid Al-Hogail, and Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi on Sunday launched Benaa Housing, which will help construction companies and contractors contribute to a development program in the Kingdom.
Benaa Housing aims to speed up the process of building 10,000 housing units in various parts of Saudi Arabia by enabling small and medium enterprises in the construction sector to access and contribute to projects and opportunities. The estimated cost of the project is SR3.5 billion ($910 million).
“The Ministry of Housing is always keen to provide adequate housing, solutions, and services suitable to all families, especially the beneficiaries of the Housing Development Program in all regions of the Kingdom,” Al-Hogail said.
Al-Qassabi said the new platform would generate more business opportunities for small and medium enterprises and provide suitable apartments for middle-class and lower-income families.
“The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes and groups, and the new platform is the fruit of these efforts,” he added.
Earlier this month, the housing minister said he expected investments in the real estate financing sector to reach between SR60 billion and SR80 billion this year.
Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh.
Saudi home ownership was growing between 6 and 7 percent annually, he said, adding that he hoped to raise home ownership to 15,000 new households per month by 2020, from a little over 10,000 per month now.
The ministry aims to increase housing ownership through policy and stimulating the private sector, according to its website.
The challenges facing the ministry are the limited availability of suitable units for all parts of the population; difficulty in accessing adequate housing finance; the inefficiency of the real estate sector and heavy reliance on government funding.
“Even though 47 percent of Saudi families already own their homes, we aim to increase this rate by 5 percentage points by 2020,” the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan states. Vision 2030 also aims to speed up construction and provide Saudis with high-quality, competitively priced housing, and to stimulate localization of the country’s construction industry.