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 King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

Updated 24 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize on Wednesday the launch of the “Qiddiya” Project which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom.
The project will be built in Al-Giddiya area, some 40 km west of the capital, Riyadh.
The foundation stone ceremony of will be attended by a host of local and international officials, as well as a number of decision-makers, major investors and representatives of the regional and international companies, marking the launch of the project’s formal infrastructure. The first phase will be completed by 2022.
In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi, Secretary General of the Foundation Council of the Qiddiya Project of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) said that the inauguration of this vital project is a real translation of the aspirations of the Kingdom’s wise leadership and its relentless efforts to develop mega projects that would contribute effectively to achieve many direct and indirect economic returns, and to advance sustainable development for the benefit of the homeland and the citizen, in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
“About two-thirds of the Kingdom’s population is under the age of 35. There is a great need for Qiddiya Project to provide them with entertainment. The project will save about $30 billion, which will be used to develop the domestic economy and create new job opportunities for Saudi youths,” he added.
For his part, Michael Reininger, Chief Executive of Qiddiya, said, “we are delighted to be a key contributor to boost the Kingdom’s economic development and investment, not only for the entertainment industry but also to projects that will develop the capabilities the young Saudi people.”