SAMA governor: Real GDP growth of 1.7% during 2016

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Governor Dr. Ahmed Al-Khulaifi speaks at a press conference at the SAMA headquarters in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 06 October 2017
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SAMA governor: Real GDP growth of 1.7% during 2016

JEDDAH: The governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) said that data show real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 1.7 percent during 2016 compared to a growth rate of 3.5 percent in the previous year.
Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Governor Dr. Ahmed Al-Khulaifi held a press conference on Wednesday at SAMA headquarters in Riyadh to highlight its 53rd annual report. During the conference, he reviewed the contents of the report.
“In terms of GDP growth by main economic activities in 2016, data show that growth in the manufacturing sector reached 3.9 percent. In the transport, storage and communications sector it reached 2.8 percent, while the electricity, gas and water sector reached 2.3 percent,” he said.
According to the data of the General Organization for Statistics, private consumption expenditure exceeded SR1 trillion ($266.7 billion) in 2016 (an increase of 5 percent over the year 2015). However, private consumption expenditure per capita increased 4 percent over the year 2015, he added.
With regard to price levels during 2016, the general cost of living index for the whole population increased by 3.5 percent compared to the previous year.
In regard to the external sector, he revealed that the current account recorded a deficit of SR103.3 billion in 2016 compared to a deficit of SR212.7 billion in the previous year, a decrease of 51.4 percent.
For the most important indicators for 2017, he revealed that the broad money supply (M3) achieved an increase of 2.4 percent at the end of August 2017 to reach SR1.795 billion compared to a decrease of 2.5 percent in August of the previous year.
The bank’s liabilities from the private sector in August of 2017 decreased by 1 percent to reach about SR1,422.3 billion compared to a rise of 7.5 percent in August of the previous year.
The total foreign assets of commercial banks in the first eight months of 2017 increased by 4.2 percent to reach SR235.3 billion.
Al-Khulaifi also said that deposits with banks increased by 2.6 percent (SR1,619 billion) in August 2017 compared to a decrease of 2.8 percent in August last year. The reserve assets stood at SR1,828.7 billion at the end of August 2017.
The general cost of living index in August 2017 decreased by 0.1 percent compared to an increase of 3.3 percent in the same period of the previous year.
Dr. Al-Khulaifi revealed that preliminary figures indicate a surplus in the current account balance of payments of the Kingdom during the first half of 2017 to reach about SR29.3 billion compared to a deficit of SR102.7 billion in the corresponding half of the previous year.


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.