Higher water bills create angry waves

Updated 22 March 2016
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Higher water bills create angry waves

JEDDAH: There has been a surge in complaints to the National Water Company (NWC) by Saudis about higher water bills resulting from the increased tariffs announced by the government late last year.
Citizens have registered their displeasure on the company’s social media pages because they claim that their bills have more than doubled since the new prices came into effect. Many also claimed that the NWC had failed to respond to their complaints.
Former Hilal player Faisal Abu Thnain wrote on Twitter: “Did the National Water Company change the quality of water pumped to citizens or has it added vitamins to it?” He claimed that his water bill was now SR30,000, according to a report in a local publication on Monday.
Other users also complained: Majed Al-Saleh wrote that his bill had risen from SR8 to SR1,429, Eman Alarfaj posted a picture of her bill on Twitter showing an amount of SR3,393, and Ibrahim Alasim wrote that his bill had increased from SR86 to SR1,024.
Journalist Tareq Aljasir wrote that he had filed a complaint about his bills over the past two months of SR1,200 and SR1,400, which he has not paid, but has yet to get a response from the water company. Haifaa Altamimi stated that she previously paid SR100 a year and was now forking out SR1,750 every three months.
Others concerned about the hike in prices stated that Saudis should not be treated like Europeans or Americans, because Muslims have to perform ablution five times a day. He said Saudi families are large, consisting of between five and seven members, which should be taken into consideration when looking at consumption.
Minister of Water and Electricity stated on its website that consumption was high in the Kingdom compared to the global average and that the public had reduced consumption despite several awareness campaigns.
Minister of Water and Electricity Abdullah Al-Hussayen had earlier said that most citizens would not be affected by the hike in prices, which were among the cheapest in the world. He said 52 percent of subscribers would not pay more than one riyal per day.
He said that supply would not be affected and that they were in line with the specifications of the WHO. The Kingdom ranks third after the US and Canada in terms of average daily water consumption, despite the scarcity of water and the difficulty in desalinating and delivering it to consumers, he said.


KSA will be one of the very best countries for tourism, says Prince Sultan

Updated 22 April 2018
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KSA will be one of the very best countries for tourism, says Prince Sultan

  • The number of job opportunities is expected to increase to 1.2 million by the year 2020.
  • The Saudi government has allocated SR5 billion to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ program.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will be one of the most attractive countries for tourism because of its location, its unique tourist and historic elements and its hospitable and welcoming people, said Prince Sultan bin Salman.
Prince Sultan, who is president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), told the annual conference of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires that the efforts of the SCTH and its partners in localizing tourist jobs resulted in an increase in the number of direct jobs in the tourism sector from 936,000 in 2016 to 993,000 by the end of 2017. The number of job opportunities is expected to increase to 1.2 million by the year 2020.
He said the contributions of tourism to the national GDP amounted to 3.6 percent, up to 4.9 percent of the national non-oil output, and the revenues of the tourism sector reached SR97.5 billion ($26 billion). Direct jobs in the tourism sector exceeded 994,000, and the proportion of Saudi citizens currently employed in the sector is about 28 percent.
The Saudi government has allocated SR5 billion to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ program, which takes care of the cultural heritage of the Kingdom.
The program includes the establishment of 18 museums in the Kingdom’s regions, the creation of 80 heritage sites and opening them to visitors throughout the Kingdom, the restoration and preparation of 18 villages and traditional towns to receive visitors, and hosting economic and local hospitality activities operated by local people, as well as opening 17 centers for artisans that serve as incubators for the development of their businesses, factories for their production, and outlets for sale.
Prince Sultan also noted that after the SCTH completed the registration of the first four sites on the World Heritage List (Madain Saleh, Al-Tarif district in Jeddah, historic Jeddah, rock inscriptions in Jubba and Shuweis in Hail), it has been working with its partners to complete the registration files of six additional sites. Also, 20 additional important Islamic sites are being rehabilitated and prepared in Makkah and Madinah.
The conference was attended by more than 1,200 prominent investors and key corporate officials in tourism.
The WTTC is the largest gathering of investors and private sector professionals working in tourism around the world.