A new Saudi Arabia
THE recently announced Saudi Vision 2030 did not paint a rosy picture for the Kingdom. It is a comprehensive plan based on hard facts supported by statistics, which are properly presented in a way that enables everyone to see Saudi Arabia after 15 years from now.
The architect of the vision, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, spoke through a television channel and an open press conference clearly and concisely about the road map of the vision and highlighted its economic, social and cultural perspectives.
Just like other Saudis, I was pleased with the announcement of the plan but more pleased to hear about the cultural aspects particularly that is related to “soft power” or using cultural influence.
The plan envisions an increase in the number of Saudi historical sites registered on UNESCO global heritage list, which now stands at four. We are optimistic the number will increase to eight in the next 15 years since the issue is an integral part of the Saudi Vision 2030.
What should we do as Saudis to achieve this national vision? Although the initial reactions are mixed with optimism and unease, but everyone should do his utmost in his area of duty to achieve these objectives in a country, which cares more for its people than oil.
— By Ziyad Aldrais
Achieving goals together
THE shift, which came in the Saudi Vision 2030, will be a historic leap when the plan gradually turns into reality by 2030.
The decision-makers in the Kingdom realize that the Vision 2030 is currently just a plan and a road map. The challenge lies in the ability of the government and the community to implement it as planned.
The realization of the vision on the ground requires integrated and concerted efforts and cooperation between the government and all social components.
On its part, the government should listen to all views related to the components of the plan, discuss these views and benefit from their remarks. There is no doubt that all economic policies and future strategies in any country always remain debatable, which may draw multiple views depending on different experiences and schools of thought.
As regards social functions, notably the citizen who is on the focal point of development, he has to respond to the requirements of the Vision.
The citizen who will benefit from the economic, social, and cultural transformation process is the same employee in the government or private sector who is required to double efforts and work meticulously and devotedly to realize the objectives of Vision 2030.
We will learn from our successes and failures but the most important thing is that we have to know that we are in the process of a historic shift where everyone in the community has a role to play to achieve the set goals.
— By Abdulwahid Al-Hamid
Vision 2030 and education
THE first reaction to Saudi Vision 2030 came from the Ministry of Education.
The Education Ministry has reportedly formed a team to implement all issues related to education in the Saudi Vision 2030.
Educationists are required to build a new generation of youths on values and concepts that will help them preserve their religious and national identity.
They have to focus on means that will help them discover their skills and enhance their points of strength.
Therefore, the proposed team has to play a key role in controlling over the education process and the progress of curriculum to bring about a real change in the form and quality of education in all its material, thought and human components.
If the ministry plays this role effectively, it will have far-reaching effects on the overall education system in the Kingdom.
Our concern is to see positive results after four or five years of the implementation of the national transformation plan in the field of education.
— By Ali Al-Jahli
Improving health sector
THE Saudi Vision 2030 contained general guidelines awaiting executive programs for different ministries and government agencies.
As far as the health sector is concerned, the Ministry of Health officials have made many indications on the adoption of a health insurance program and allowing the private sector to operate government hospitals in a bid to raise their efficiency.
Some discussions surfaced on the application of a French model on health care, which is a successful model. The French model covers the majority of French people through non-profit, government-owned insurance companies to cover costs of medical treatment with meager portion of costs to be paid by individuals based on their incomes.
However, when applied in the Kingdom, the French model needs assurances in many ways, notably the role of the Ministry of Health in providing insurance coverage and ability to distinguish between high- and low-income categories in terms of insurance and patient contribution rates.
The Ministry of Health is also required to lay down strict standards to accept medical centers and hospitals run by the private sector. On the other hand, the ministry is required to restructure the primary health care system in an effective way to alleviate pressures on hospitals through dealing with cases in their early stages at primary health care centers.
To establish an effective health system, the Ministry of Health should activate preventive medicine, enhance public health and address unhealthy living styles on a long-term basis that will minimize diseases and reduce their human and financial costs.
— By Badr Al-Ibrahim
ANNOUNCING the Saudi Vision 2030, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also discussed giving “green cards” to some residents but without dealing with the volume of migrant funds. The migrant funds are estimated at billions of riyals and come in three forms as follows:
First: Remittances of expat workers, which are exceeding SR160 billion annually.
Here the concerned government bodies are required to determine sources of the transferred funds and minimize their outflow in order to keep the biggest portion of those funds inside the Kingdom to benefit the national development process.
Second: Big volumes of migrant funds to global banks sent by Saudi businessmen, which are invested abroad.
The funds, estimated at billions of riyals, may be retrieved and invested in the Kingdom. The government may give incentives to owners of funds and open investment opportunities to them.
Third: Saudi citizens are spending more than SR70 billion on outbound tourism annually.
Here, all possible efforts should be exerted to attract Saudis to domestic tourism and spend their money in the country.
— By Mohammed Salim Al-Ghamdi
A road map for development
THE Saudi Vision 2030 is an ambitious strategic plan for the huge economic and social transformation of the Kingdom and is considered the biggest event since the discovery of oil in 1938.
The establishment of a mega sovereign fund worth more than $2 trillion proves the Kingdom’s investment potential and its strong drive toward economic diversification. The diversification drive mainly rests on mining, diversified investments and military industries.
According to a report issued by McKenzie Institute, Saudi Arabia is capable of doubling its gross domestic product (GDP) and creating big numbers of jobs for Saudi citizens by 2030.
The McKenzie report pinpointed eight areas of highly priority: Mining, petrochemicals, downstream industries, retail and whole trade, tourism, health care, financing and construction.
The share of the above eight sectors could reach nearly 60 percent of the required growth by 2030, the report said.
Besides its concern over the Kingdom’s future in economic, educational, social, cultural fields, the Saudi Vision 2030 draws intelligently and wisely the importance of contribution and interaction of citizens to the vision for a generous country led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
— By Ahmed Abdulqadir Al-Muhandis