Lankan ambassador bids farewell to KSA

Updated 08 July 2014
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Lankan ambassador bids farewell to KSA

The outgoing Sri Lankan ambassador says he developed good relations with Saudi officials during his stay in the Kingdom particularly closer trade and tourism ties.
Vadivel Krishnamoorthy will be leaving for Nairobi on Tuesday to take up his appointment as his country’s ambassador in Kenya. Hussein Mohamed, the former mayor of Colombo, is the new ambassador to the Kingdom.
“It has been a matter of great satisfaction that I was able to maintain good relations with officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labor and Interior ... and religious leaders,” he said.
He said that one of the challenges he faced was working with Saudi officials during the Kingdom’s labor correction campaign.
“Our embassy was able to correct the status of 22,000 undocumented Sri Lankans under the generous amnesty granted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.”
He said there are about 550,000 Sri Lankan workers deployed in the Kingdom, the largest number in the Middle East. There are 1.5 million islanders working in the Middle East.
He said his achievements include promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and ensuring that the Kingdom remained a destination for those citizens seeking work abroad.
“In addition, my embassy was able to transform itself to ensure quick delivery of services. I am happy to note that Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia have signed an agreement to streamline recruitment and protect the rights of both employers and domestic workers.”
He said the agreement ensures a minimum wage, set working hours, paid holidays and a dispute resolution mechanism.
He said the Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom, particularly those with good jobs, worked closely with the embassy to help fellow workers in need.
The mission is working on a road show to improve bilateral relations in investments, tourism and trade in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah in October. Plans are underway to initiate the Saudi-Sri Lanka Business Council, he said.
Prior to his posting here, Krishnamoorthy, a senior career diplomat, was attached to the External Affairs Ministry as its director general for Southeast Asia and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
His previous overseas posting was as the deputy high commissioner for Sri Lanka in Chennai, India. He succeeded Ambassador P.M. Amza who completed his three-year posting here and moved to London as the deputy high commissioner and is now the island’s ambassador in Brussels.
Krishnamoorthy had earlier served as high commissioner at Dhaka in Bangladesh before he was posted to Chennai.
He hails from Nuwara-Eliya, known as Little London, and had his schooling at the prestigious Hatton Highlands College. He holds a degree from the University of Peradeniya and a post-graduate diploma in Educational Management and Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University, Australia.
Krishnamoorthy has over 33 years in public service, which includes more than 20 years in the foreign service. He was in Bangladesh from 2006 to 2009. Before that he was the director-general of the United Nations and Multilateral Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for two years from 2004 to 2006. He also attended the 60th United Nations General Assembly session in New York and the Board of Governors Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
Krishnamoorthy had earlier served in the Netherlands from 2001 to 2004 and China from 1992 to 1997. While serving as the minister counselor at the Embassy in the Netherlands, he functioned as the deputy permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
He had also worked as the director on the East Asia desk, deputy chief of protocol from 1999 to 2001, assistant director on the West desk in 1992 and director of the Sri Lankan Institute of International Relations from 2004 to 2006.
He is married, has two daughters, and speaks Tamil, Sinhala, English and Chinese.
The Sri Lankan community hosted a farewell for him, followed by a party arranged by the embassy’s officials. Krishnamoorthy also hosted an iftar on Monday for all Sri Lankans in the Kingdom.

Blurb:
His achievements include promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and ensuring that the Kingdom remained a destination for those citizens seeking work abroad.


Housing expo opens doors for first-time buyers in Saudi Arabia

Updated 28 min 16 sec ago
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Housing expo opens doors for first-time buyers in Saudi Arabia

  • Sakani Expo, which will be held until Nov. 23, aims to facilitate real estate loans and help beneficiaries buy their first home
  • Through the Mortgage Loan program, Sakani Expo offers financing solutions and products to suit all beneficiary groups

JEDDAH: Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar inaugurated the Sakani Expo residential exhibition at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center on Thursday.
The ceremony was attended by Housing Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al-Huqail.
Sakani Expo, which will be held until Nov. 23, aims to facilitate real estate loans and help beneficiaries buy their first home by bringing together developers, real estate professionals, contractors, government agencies and financing institutions — providing all housing and financing solutions in one place.
Prince Faisal said: “This exhibition promotes the development taking place in the Kingdom and provides citizens with many options as well as information, all of which have the care and support of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Saudi Arabia has always been full of good and enlightened thinking, through which citizens can lead good lives and own suitable houses,” he said.
Through the Mortgage Loan program, Sakani Expo offers financing solutions and products to suit all beneficiary groups, including retirees, entrepreneurs, private-sector employees and many who were previously unable to get a mortgage.
The Ministry of Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) organized the exhibition to provide financing solutions to beneficiaries of the Mortgage Loan program, driving the housing sector forward and offering maximum benefit to citizens.
The initiative will also shorten a waiting list of an estimated 48,000 beneficiaries, all of whom will be served by the end of 2020.
REDF approved 85,000 beneficiaries’ requests last year and aims to grant more than 100,000 approvals during 2018 to achieve the goal of the National Transformation Program 2020 to increase the percentage of Saudis owning their homes to 60 percent. That figure is expected to reach 70 percent by 2030.
Sakani Expo will allow beneficiaries to meet with a real estate adviser who will offer residential and financing solutions to suit their needs and capabilities.
A Military Home Loans initiative to be launched during the expo by the Local Content and Private Sector Development Unit aims to make it easier for members of the military their own house by offering an additional loan up to SR140,000 ($37,300), in addition to covering up to SR500,000 of the profits of the financing provided by financiers through the Mortgage Loan program.
The loan will be repaid after repayment of the basic financing — 15-25 years — with premiums scheduled according to monthly income.
The Military Home Loans initiative targets members of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Guard, Saudi Arabian Royal Guard, Presidency of the State Security and the General Intelligence Presidency.
In order to benefit from the initiative, members of the military are encouraged to register or update their data in the “Housing Support” program through the Ministry of Housing or the REDF.