Hike in gasoline prices across KSA will help in govt plan for efficient energy use: Experts

Experts believe the hike in fuel prices will help bring about a change in energy consumption pattern in the Kingdom. (Reuters/File)
Updated 02 January 2018
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Hike in gasoline prices across KSA will help in govt plan for efficient energy use: Experts

RIYADH: With the hike in fuel prices effective as of midnight Sunday, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI) intensified its control on fuel stations across the Kingdom to ensure availability of petroleum products at prices fixed by the government.
The regulatory authorities were constantly monitoring markets to ensure that prices were not manipulated and supplies not interrupted in view of the increase. After the hike, 91 octane will now sell for SR1.37 ($0.37) per liter, up from 75 halalas per liter, whereas 95 octane will now sell for SR2.04 per liter, up from 90 halalas per liter. Notably, the new prices also include the value-added tax (VAT), which is being levied from Monday.
Moreover, diesel rates for transport and kerosene rates were left unchanged as the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources explained on Monday its financial balance plan and the aim of reducing the rapid growth in domestic consumption of energy products and efficient energy use in line with Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to diversify the economy and sources of revenue away from oil.
Speaking to Arab News on the government plan on efficient use of energy coinciding with an ambitious reform plan to diversify income, Hesham Alghannam, a Saudi analyst, Fulbright scholar and a consultant on Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Gulf affairs, said: “I have been saying for a while now, it would not be difficult for the state to push for cultural and social change. However, the challenge remains in the implementation of economic reform, as the economy is always complicated.
“It is not something that you can predict easily. I think that trial and error is one way to do it. At least there is a serious will to change and reform for betterment.”
Alghannam also pointed that the Saudi private sector is not capable of being a part of the solution. There are a number of reasons for this: First, the Saudi “private” sector is not genuinely private, most of its activities are recycling the oil rent, and it is to this extent hard to conceive of it purely as a profit or job creator. Second, the needs of the private sector are poorly aligned with the internal job market. This is shown by the difficulties in recruiting sufficient numbers of Saudi youth to certain jobs. Ultimately, the private sector is driven by its balance sheet and its profit and loss account.
“I also agree that the corruption purge will put a lot of weight on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s shoulders, because people see him as a determined man in dealing with officials that have been corrupted into inaction,” Alghannam told Arab News.
He added: “We have to wait and see, but without a doubt, the anti-corruption campaign in Saudi brings hope to the people that did not exist in the past. Such change is a golden opportunity to illustrate what the Saudi Vision can bring to the people.”
Dr. Majed bin Abdullah Al-Hedayan, an analyst, FDI expert and a legal adviser, told Arab News: “The Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources announced on Monday the hike in the price of gasoline and its derivatives in the Kingdom... They also require the consumer to re-arrange their daily life and save energy as much as possible.”
Saqib Hamza, a recruitment executive from Dammam, told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia is the country with the lowest fuel price in the world. This hike will help in optimum energy utility and help cut on excess expenditure.” The advent of public transport, work on which is in fast progress, will help cut on expenditure for daily transport needs, he added.


FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

Updated 53 min 50 sec ago
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FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

RIYADH: Speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh did not shy away from addressing what could otherwise have been the elephant in the room: The death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Numerous speakers had pulled out of the event over the death of the Saudi journalist in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting beyond the scope of Saudi authorities, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
Many speakers due to attend the FII — mostly those from Western organizations — had pulled out due to allegations the Saudi government was complicit in Khashoggi’s death.
But speakers at the FII on Tuesday tackled the issue head-on, calling the death “abhorrent” and promising justice. 
“These are difficult days for us in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are going through a crisis, of sorts, resulting from the very regrettable and abhorrent incident that took place in Turkey,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told the audience.
“Nobody in the Kingdom can justify it or explain it. From the leadership on down, we are very upset about what has happened,” he added. 
“The king has made it clear that there will be an investigation, justice and retribution to those responsible.”
The prominent Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan also remarked on the case, saying that the “terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien to our culture and DNA.” 
Al-Falih said that, despite the ongoing “crisis” due to the case, the ambitious reforms that Saudi Arabia is undertaking would continue. 
“The Kingdom is in the midst of a historic transformation of unprecedented proportions, and the train has moved, and it has moved deliberately toward a transformation journey that will not be stopped,” he said. 
“Those partners who are here with us today, to continue their journey with us are certainly going to look back and find out how the lessons have been learned from the incident, but at the same time how committed the Kingdom is to its partners who stay the course.”