A diplomatic victory
Diplomatic efforts at the United Nations led by Saudi envoy Abdullah Al-Moallami have yielded excellent results and the UN removed the Arab coalition from the list of violators of child rights.
It was indeed a wrong UN decision not based on reality. In today’s world, a proper and effective strategy is a must to counter propaganda and its consequences. Al-Moallami did a wonderful job for his country and other members of the Arab coalition, which is trying its best to restore peace in Yemen.
The inclusion of the Arab coalition in the report was the handiwork of some United Nations’ employees having ties with Houthis and remnants of the deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
It is sad that the UN employees got involved in such a scam in support of Houthis, a group backed by Iran and despised by Yemenis for its destructive role in the country. As a matter of fact, it were Houthis who recruited child soldiers for their vested interests.
Unfortunately, the UN employees backed Houthis by helping them spread lies through the publication of this factually incorrect report, which also overlooked the Houthi atrocities in Yemen. Had the UN been so convinced about the Arab coalitions “negative” role in Yemen, it would not have been easy to get a clean chit.
Therefore, the UN chief accepted the Saudi request that the amended report should consider all cases and figures contained in the first draft and not to overlook the humanitarian role of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, which has already established a center and sent thousands of tons of food and medical supplies to Yemen.
The report should also mention the financial burden faced by the Kingdom in its efforts to help the Yemeni people in the wake of aggression waged by the Houthis and forces of the deposed president and its continuous efforts against Al-Qaeda terrorists.
One of the achievements of diplomatic move made by Al-Moallami and other envoys of the Arab coalition is the convincing of the UN chief to receive an Arab team in New York to open talks at the Security Council during the discussion of the report, scheduled for next August.
The Arab team will definitely present many facts and remove confusion caused by the dishonest UN employees.
— By Jasir Abdulaziz Al-Jasir
Looking into future
The recently announced National Transformation Program (NTP) contains three strategic subjects that I would like to share with the readers.
First of all, instead of calling it a five-year plan, the government preferred to call it “National Transformation Program 2020.” This shows the importance our leadership attaches to the socioeconomic transformation of the country.
Secondly, it adopted the name of initiatives to the new services instead of developmental projects because projects may falter but initiatives are launched to surpass challenges. An estimated budget of SR270 billion was allocated for initiatives, which have assessment tools.
Thirdly, tools to assess progress and performance were adopted for each item in the form of specific objectives, which are comparable to regional and international standards.
Meanwhile, the reduction of wages and salaries in the general budget (from 45 percent to 40 percent) has aroused concern among some people. However, this does not necessarily mean reduction of salaries but it means reduction of disguised unemployment and encouragement of national workforce toward more productive jobs and sectors.
— By Mazin Abdulrazzaq Balila
New approach to progress
The National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 contains as many as 500 initiatives. This program signifies a different development approach.
The NTP envisages an overall improvement in the working culture of the government departments, ministries and agencies. Our leadership wants the ministers to remain committed to the betterment of the country.
Citizens have become aware and with the advent of Internet, there is no restriction on the flow of information in today’s world. Our citizens have the ability to compare development disparity between countries. So, it has become necessary to ensure quality in the execution of various uplift projects.
The open press conferences between ministers and media reflect features of a government that understands the needs of the citizens.
In the past, the developmental programs were carried out on a five-year-plan basis but the degree of transparency given to the NTP is more noticeable.
Today, we are living a different experience whose spirit is built on transparency and assessment not only at the local level but also at the foreign level. Clarity of vision and rich programs and initiatives of the Saudi government represent mega catalysts for foreign governments and companies to attract them to the Saudi market.
This was clearly reflected in the investments recently announced by the US General Electric (GE) in the Kingdom worth $1.4bn (SR5.25bn).
— By Aiman Al-Hammad
The National Anti-Drug Commission (Nibras) is considered one of the most important national projects aimed at streamlining all government and private efforts to educate people about the dangers of drugs.
With the start of Ramadan, Nibras chief Abdulilah Al-Sharif announced a study calling for the introduction of a course in the preliminary year of Saudi universities on drugs and its adverse effects on individuals and community.
The study is, undoubtedly, an important step in the efforts of the state to fight drugs but the question here is: Are university students more targeted than drug traffickers to introduce a course on drugs?
According to studies, the most dangerous age group to deal with drugs falls between 12-20 years and 70 percent of them have used drugs.
— By Sattam Al-Thaqail
Human trafficking is considered one of the worst crimes in Saudi society. And the same goes for the illegal trafficking of housemaids, as it represents a flagrant violation of the sponsors’ rights. In addition to that it has a very negative impact on the overall security and economy of the country.
These days, housemaid brokers are active in terms of transporting and harboring maids and encouraging them to flee from their sponsors to exploit them in domestic work during Ramadan. Exploitation of people is a condemnable practice and illegal trafficking of housemaids is punishable by law.
The anti-human trafficking crimes system in the Kingdom is defined by a royal decree (1430) as the exploitation of a person, his transportation, harboring, or receiving him for his misuse.
Human trafficking crimes take many forms including exploitation of domestic workers, which is considered a crime in the Saudi judicial system.
Therefore, anyone is found involved in such acts, be it a broker or a family benefiting from the maid, will have to face the music as per the laws of the Kingdom.
Furthermore, keeping a runaway maid in a house and benefiting from that maid is also illegal and people should not provide such maids with shelter and should never accept their services.
The (original) sponsor has the right to file a case against the head of the family harboring the absconder.
— By Abdullah Qasim Al-Inizi
Kingdom’s tourism potential
Tourism has become one of the most important sources of income for many countries around the world. Due to the ease of travel and availability of information through the Internet, a large number of people prefer to explore new regions.
Keeping in view this trend, most of the countries focus their energies on this important sector and they come up with novel ideas for the promotion of tourism.
Moreover, tourism has become a major industry in a number of countries that contributed to the economic growth of those countries.
Malaysia is one of those countries, which has effectively used its tourism potential. Today, Malaysia is known for best tourist facilities in the world.
Undoubtedly, Malaysia has experienced a remarkable progress. By focusing on tourism, Malaysia also witnessed a boost in its growth, which led to the creation of millions of job opportunities for its citizens.
Saudi Arabia also has huge tourism potential but we lack proper infrastructure and planning to effectively exploit the potential. It is not enough to have tourism programs or shopping festivals because they are temporary.
We need international conferences on tourism as an industry and we need to redefine the art of the tourism industry. We have beautiful places that could become huge tourist attractions. Baha, for example, could become a first-class tourist destination but it only needs support from media and businessmen.
— By Salih Al-Muslim