Alwaleed’s tweet revives debate on Saudi women driving

Updated 01 December 2016
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Alwaleed’s tweet revives debate on Saudi women driving

JEDDAH: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal created global headlines on Wednesday after he tweeted saying: “Stop the debate. Time for women to drive.”
The Twitter post, which was linked to a lengthier statement outlining arguments for Saudi women getting behind the wheel, comes a few months after the Kingdom’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also publicly endorsed women’s right to drive.
Bin Salman is leading ambitious and all-encompassing reform efforts for Saudi Arabia, which are embodied in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Plan (NTP).
The ban is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it. For years, the topic has been the center of extensive debate in government, media and social circles.
For its part, BBC News website ran a story entitled “Prince Alwaleed says women driving ban hurts Saudi economy.” In it, Prince Alwaleed was quoted as saying that “it is high time that Saudi women started driving their cars.”
The Guardian, based in London, and the New York Times also carried news of the prince’s tweet.
Prince Alwaleed’s open letter, in English and Arabic, included an elaborate and well-researched argument for Saudi women to start driving.
He emphasized that the issue has become even more pressing in the current economic circumstances.
“Would it not be better from the standpoint of safety, security, not to mention religious morality, to allow women to drive their own cars than to expose them to the dangers inherent in having them driven alone by foreign males?” the Saudi prince asked in his four-page letter.


Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

Updated 41 min 16 sec ago
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Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

  • Finance representatives of 150 government bodies meet for the Budget Forum 2020

RIYADH: Saudi finance chiefs have kicked off a major conference in the capital aimed at mapping out the Kingdom’s budget requirements.
Around 300 specialists representing 150 government bodies met at the InterContinental hotel in Riyadh for the Budget Forum 2020.
Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan welcomed delegates to the second edition of the gathering organized by the Saudi Finance Ministry under the slogan “Partnership and Empowerment.”
Al-Jadaan said the ministry was focused on “partnership and commitment,” and sought to share the challenge of developing an effective budget to achieve the Kingdom’s ambitious goals.
“We are also committed to empowering financial leaderships to learn about the ministry’s programs and projects and provide training and qualification opportunities to the best international standards,” he added.
The finance chief said the budget planning process required the collaboration of multiple authorities and a clear strategy based on transparency. 
Items up for discussion at the forum included financial planning in governmental bodies, automation, and the promotion of revenues and efficient spending.
Finance Ministry steering committee chairman, Abdul Aziz bin Saleh Al-Freih, stressed the importance of the forum in getting the ball rolling at an early stage on formulating a general state budget.
Workshops were held on the sidelines of the conference focused on empowering government organizations, and a training program on financial planning and income estimations was also staged.