Allowing Saudi women to drive will save SR20bn: Official

Saudi women take out an infant trolley from the boot of a car outside a mall in the Saudi capital Riyadh, in this September 27, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2017
0

Allowing Saudi women to drive will save SR20bn: Official

MADINAH: Abdullah Ahmed Al-Moghlooth, a member of the Saudi Economic Association (SEA), praised King Salman’s decision to allow women to drive, saying he believes this can save the Kingdom SR20 billion ($5.3 billion) per year.
Expatriate drivers, who now number 1.38 million, are annually paid SR33 billion in the form of salaries by Saudi families. In addition, there are recruitment, iqama and work permit fees that must be paid by the employer for a foreign worker.
There are groups in society such as widows, divorced and single women who cannot pay an expatriate driver’s salary or the accompanying fees, and this move of allowing women to drive can relieve the financial burden on this sector of Saudi society.
In addition, Saudi women will now be able to enter the market as professional drivers, which can also accommodate the country’s cultural considerations about mixing the sexes.
“I believe that this decision approximately saves the Kingdom SR20 billion annually, if it can be assumed that 50 percent of the existing drivers are not needed. Some Saudi families will choose not to recruit new expatriate drivers,” Al-Maghlooth said.
The goals of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 aim to reduce the large number of expatriate workers and hire Saudi citizens.
Al-Moghlooth praised the decree of allowing women to drive as step toward enhancing their rights, and as a social, economic, and legal protection for women.
“This is a wise and positive decision that has dimensions, not only for the freedom of women and to assurance their rights, but it also serve as an economic momentum,” Al-Maghlooth said.


Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

Updated 45 min 8 sec ago
0

Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

  • Mohammed bin Salman says value of investments to increase rapidly over next two years
  • Modi praised relations between the two countries after signing cooperation agreements

DUBAI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday he expects Saudi Arabia’s investments in India will be worth $100 billion in the next two years.

During a press conference with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crown prince said the Kingdom had invested $10 billion in technology and small companies in India which had “achieved very remarkable returns.”

Speaking on the second day of hist India visit, and after the signing of five agreements with Modi, the crown prince also said that there were many opportunities for India in Saudi Arabia.

“We expect that the opportunity we are developing in India in many fields will exceed 100 billion dollars over the next two years,” Prince Mohammed said. “We want to work as two governments to ensure these investments and achieve beneficial returns for both countries. 

“We also hope that relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and India will contribute to providing more opportunities for Indian laborers and manpower to contribute to the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and building the Kingdom's Vision 2030.”

******

READ MORE: 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledges commitment to Saudi-Indian relations

Greeted with a hug: Saudi crown prince welcomed to India by PM Modi

Full Asia tour coverage 

******

The crown prince spoke of the depth and history of relations between the two countries, acknowledging the role Indian labor and businesses had played in the Kingdom’s development.

He also said the economic partnerships were grounded in the two nation’s similar challenges - “extremism, terrorism and the security of the Indian Ocean.”

He said Modi’s visit to the Kingdom in 2016 had achieved investments worth $44 billion in refining and petrochemicals.

The two countries planned to expand India’s oil storage capacity to make India an “important regional center in distributing oil and its products.”

"As a neighbor who guarantees suppying us with energy needs, the Kingdom is considered India's most important partner," Modi said. "We have enhanced our relations through establishing a strategic partnership."

The crown prince and Modi earlier oversaw the signing of agreements in the fields of investment, tourism, housing and information and broadcasting.

It was also announced that the Kingdom would join the International Solar Alliance, a group of countries focussed on improving solar technology.

Prince Mohammed then met a number of CEOs from India's leading businesses.

The crown prince arrived in India after a two-day trip to Pakistan as part of a tour of Asia.

Earlier he attended a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi after landing in the country on Tuesday evening.