Saudi Arabia to launch joint trade council with Iraq

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chairs a Cabinet meeting in Jeddah on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 15 August 2017
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Saudi Arabia to launch joint trade council with Iraq

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, decided on Monday to set up the General Authority for Military Industries, which enjoys legal status as well as financial and administrative independence.
The agency aims to regulate the military industry in the Kingdom, develop and monitor its performance, and do everything necessary to achieve its objectives.
The Cabinet decided that the authority shall have a board of directors chaired by the deputy prime minister and comprising the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, the minister of finance, the minister of trade and investment, and the chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Military Industries Co.
Last Wednesday, the state-owned Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced the launch of a national state company for arms manufacturing to produce thousands of jobs in the Kingdom. The new company, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the sovereign wealth fund PIF said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq will also launch a joint trade commission, the Saudi Cabinet announced on Monday. “The Cabinet has decided to approve the establishment of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Commission and to delegate the Saudi minister of trade and investments to sign on behalf of the kingdom,” read a statement carried by the press agency SPA.
The two countries had no diplomatic relations for a quarter of a century. They were severed in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, after which Saudi Arabia was the launchpad for a US-led coalition to remove Iraqi forces.
The Cabinet praised the positive developments achieved by the state budget in the second quarter of the fiscal year 1438/1439 (2017), which were represented in progress in revenues, improvement in spending efficiency, a drop in the deficit, and maintaining the level of basic services provided to citizens.
The Cabinet also reviewed the quarterly financial report which reflected progress in the achievement of a balanced financial performance in the medium term, and the effectiveness of economic reforms under the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, which contributed to the generation of more non-oil revenues.
The Cabinet was briefed on the preparations of ministries and sectors participating in serving pilgrims and providing comfort for pilgrims and visitors of the Two Holy Mosques and holy sites. In this context, the Cabinet vehemently rejected the politicization of Hajj.
The Cabinet expressed thanks and appreciation to the crown prince on his directives to support 14 charity organizations in the Riyadh region with SR23 million ($6.1 million) from his own account.
The Cabinet praised the graduation of the first batch of those participating in the operations Decisive Storm and Restore Hope. They represented non-regular students of Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University. The Cabinet appreciated their determination to pursue their studies and, at the same time, defend the country.
On the global front, the Cabinet expressed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of terror acts in Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burkina Faso and France, and its sympathy with the governments and peoples of these countries against all forms of terrorism and extremism.


Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

  • A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030
  • We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions

MAKKH: In a breakthrough initiative for Tawafa institutions, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has completed the training of 135 male and female Tawafa guides — religious guides for Hajj pilgrims — who have obtained tour guide licenses.
The training is the first step in a program that will enable national Tawafa establishments to obtain tour guide licenses. The ceremony for the first of the tour guides to graduate from the training course took place in Makkah on Tuesday, at the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries (ARBHAJ).
SCTH Director-General Dr. Hisham bin Mohammed Madani said the commission has honored more than 135 male and female “Mutawwifs,” or guides, from ARBHAJ under the partnership between the SCTH and the ARBHAJ to train Tawafa guides to obtain tour guide licenses.
Madani said this is the first phase of an initiative to train guides at all Tawafa establishments, introducing pilgrims to a new concept by helping them visit all historical and archaeological sites and museums in Makkah after performing Hajj rituals.
“Tour guides are more and more dynamic and effective in the tourism industry, and have become an important and effective source of historical information,” he said and added that the tour guide now also functions as an ambassador for the authentic culture of the Kingdom, reflecting its cultural, natural and historical heritage.
Licensing Tawaf guides as tour guides, Madani said, will enrich the tourist experience in the holy capital.
The SCTH chief noted that the city is rich with myriad cultural treasures that need someone to showcase them for tourists.
“We at SCTH presented our experience in qualifying accredited tour guides and we look forward to improving tourism outputs to match the reality and requirements of the new phase,” he said. “In order to reach this goal, we are collaborating with all partners to reach satisfactory results to deal with all nationalities, tongues and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world with satisfaction, love and positivity.”
“We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions. Makkah is the holy city that every Muslim looks forward to visiting after hearing about its great heritage. Our role is to provide knowledge and keep abreast of the tourist vision by qualifying and training tour guides, equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications and honing their skills through required training programs. To this end, all partners must join their efforts and collaborate together to reach the desired goals.”

Initiative
Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the ministry is implementing an initiative to provide a professional license for everyone working at Hajj, not just in Tawaf.
He said: “A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030, to focus on enriching the pilgrims’ experience, and not only on increasing their numbers.”
Mashat said it was important for pilgrims’ journeys to be coupled with trips to historical and archaeological sites. “We rely on male and female Tawaf guides to organize well-thought-out trips for the pilgrims so that they can enjoy all the historical and archaeological sites and landmarks in Makkah,” he added.