Saudi Royal decree will help families save money currently spent on private drivers

A street in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Shutterstock)
Updated 27 September 2017
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Saudi Royal decree will help families save money currently spent on private drivers

DUBAI: The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has welcomed King Salman’s announcement allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia, calling it a positive step.
In a tweet Guterres wrote: “I welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift the ban on women drivers. An important step in the right direction.”
The ruling will see a consultation over the next 30 days on how to implement the new rules granting women the right to apply for driving licenses and it will be brought into force in June 2018.

By allowing women to drive frees them to go to work without incurring excessive additional costs caused by the need to hire drivers, and thus bring home additional income into the household, which will ultimately increase people’s spending power and help boost Saudi Arabia’s national economy.
Saudi writer and journalist, Ghada Ghunaim said: “This will have a huge impact on Saudi Arabia’s economy. We have to remember that our Kingdom produces more female graduates compared to our male counterparts,”
Most Saudi families are reliant, to varying degrees, on private drivers to transport the female members to school, work and any other place they need to go to.
The most recent statistics suggest there are nearly 800,000 men – mostly South Asian – working as drivers for Saudi women.
Drivers are paid approximately 1,000 – 1,500 riyals ($267 — $400) per month. But there are additional costs incurred, such as residence permits, accommodation, health care and food, and flight tickets, which cost Saudi families a national total of approximately 19.14 billion riyals ($5.1 billion).
Ghunaim said Tuesday’s royal decree would ultimately help low income families who currently struggle to meet the financial burden of hiring drivers.
“A lot of families in Saudi Arabia are not able to afford paying a driver a monthly salary, this royal decree will help ease a lot of families who struggle with their women not being able to drive,” she added.


Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. (Supplied)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

  • The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021
  • SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is fast catching up with the world’s ever-growing energy and technology scene ahead of 2030. In fact, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) may soon prove a global destination for energy industry investors.

The new energy city mega-project is being developed by Saudi Aramco, which received authoritization to embark on the initiative in the summer, and is operated, managed and maintained in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON). 

With projections that the megacity will create more than 100,000 jobs, it is considered one of the most up-and-coming energy parks in the world.

SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower.

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. 

The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, while the final phase of the project is set for completion in 2035. With all this on track, the 50-square-kilometer project is poised to be a magnet for foreign and domestic investment. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday. (SPA)

What’s more, Aramco’s espousal of SPARK will also help businesses indulge in technological development, manufacturing and exports channels and build a world-class energy supply chain. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih declared SPARK a special economic zone (SEZ) in which businesses can enjoy exclusive benefits. 

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO, Amin Nasser.

SPARK has already attracted investment from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion. 

The park is set to attract industrial investors in the water, power, petrochemical and wastewater sectors, among others. 

Facilities at SPARK will also help investors bridge gaps in local production back home, increasing competition in the long run. 

“This energy city is exciting because it brings together a multitude of businesses,” Mark McCollum, president and CEO of Weatherford Corp, told SPARK.

“We firmly believe that collaboration and cooperation among service companies and individual providers to the energy sector is vital in breaking new ground.”

The King Salman Energy Park is also set to promote small and medium-sized enterprises. With focus on energy production, it also provides opportunities for investment in residential and commercial real estate projects.

Nasser said that the “King Salman Energy Park will spur a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s already thriving sectors. What’s more, it will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies since Aramco is at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.”