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
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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.


US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the US. (SPA)
Updated 20 September 2018
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US highlights Saudi Arabia’s key role in global fight against terrorism

  • The US State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism, describing the Kingdom as an active and key member in the global coalition to defeat Daesh.
“Saudi Arabia has continued to maintain a strong anti-terrorism relationship with the United States and has supported the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” the State Department noted in its annual report on the global state of terrorism. It also highlighted the joint strategic vision between the two countries and a number of new initiatives to counter terrorist messages and disrupt the financing of terrorism launched last year during US president Donald-Trump’s visit to the Kingdom.
The report said Saudi Arabia has implemented systems to follow UN Security Council sanctions on groups and individuals linked to Daesh and Al Qaeda, and has expanded existing counterterrorism programs and projects to rehabilitate terrorist fighters who leave extremist groups. It has also adopted laws to counter the financing of terrorist groups.
The State Department pointed out that the Kingdom has achieved a high level of accuracy in its counterterrorism operations, and has carried out a number of arrests and disrupted active terrorist cells throughout the country.
The report referred to terrorist plans that were thwarted in the Kingdom, noting the efforts being made in legislation, law enforcement and border security, as well as the country’s positive contribution as a member of the Financial Action Task Force for the Middle East and North Africa, a regional body that imposes financial sanctions on individuals and groups that help to fund terrorism.
"The Kingdom has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism," the report said.
It also pointed out that the Kingdom provided 100 million euros ($117 million) to fight terrorism in the Sahel countries in Africa, as the Kingdom is a founding member of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum.