Achieving national goals
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has set two strategic objectives within the framework of the National Transformation Program (NTP) i.e. Provision of decent jobs for citizens and raising the skills of Saudis to cope with labor market needs.
Likewise, the Ministry of Education said one of its strategic objectives is to focus on enhancing the ability of education system to meet the requirements of development and labor market needs.
I strongly believe that the quickest and best initiative to achieve these objectives is to apply the concept of “dual education.”
This concept combines academic study with on-job training in the private sector in a bid to save many years spent in attending theoretical lectures or classes. Moreover, the application of “dual education” will allow the private sector firms select trainees and discover their capacities in terms of work and productivity, in a manner that will bridge gap between education and work.
The concept is also poised to raise the value of accumulative knowledge in the Saudi labor market and minimize the excuse “lack of previous experience,” notably for fresh graduates.
— By Khalid Mohamed Al-Shinaibir
Rallying support against terror
The Saudi delegation, on a visit to Washington, is not representing private companies seeking investments or to discuss an emergency situation.
It is a strategic visit. Saudi Arabia is currently facing mega challenges and is trying to overcome those issues to protect its interests and for the greater good of the Arab and Islamic world.
This leading role of the Kingdom is annoying several regional and international players and possibly Washington is among those annoyed by the Saudi role.
The US annoyance is mirrored in its friends through opening up doors to new crises such as the baseless accusation of human rights violation in Yemen and the adoption of Russian views on Syria.
The Iranian nuclear deal, orchestrated and approved by Washington, has devastating consequences in the region and the dangerous role played by Iran could not have happened if Washington had a divergent opinion on the Iranian role. Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper recently published a report that the Obama Administration withheld millions of documents revealing Iran-Al-Qaeda cooperation for the success of the Iranian nuclear deal.
It (Washington) could have done so to condone (Iranian General) Qassem Soleimani’s crimes in Iraq and Syria for the same reason.
Therefore, the Kingdom, together with its Islamic alliance, is in Washington with one objective: Fighting terror in the region.
The Saudi delegation is also in the US to market the Islamic alliance, build strategic partnerships with Washington and fix areas of its presence and movement.
Since the world is going without a clear goal in the fight against terrorism, Saudi Arabia sees itself obliged to bring the world around one single goal: Burning of fields where forces of evil are gathering from everywhere in the world.
— By Mutlaq bin Saud Al-Mutairi
Officials of the General Administration for Drug Control recently seized 100-kilo hashish in Riyadh and foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 8,000 tramadol pills at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
What is discovered and seized is part of what could be smuggled and brought to the hands of potential customers. The increasing numbers of drug addicts and inability of hospitals to receive big numbers of addicts seeking treatment are proof that drugs might have “escaped” inspection channels.
No country in the world can claim to have fully succeeded in war against drugs. Each time when drugs are seized, questions are raised: Who is behind drug trafficking? Who are the beneficiaries? And how this money is laundered and pumped into the economy?
— By Salem Ahmed Sahab
Three important factors strengthen the recently announced Saudi Vision 2030. Those factors are: Presence of the two holy mosques in the Kingdom, huge investment potential and the country’s unique strategic geographical location.
There is another important factor that we should keep in mind. Saudi Arabia represents 70 percent of the Arabian Peninsula. It is the cradle of the Arabic language and the original homeland of the Arab race.
Therefore, the Arabic language is one of the key components of our identity, a matter that necessitates that Arabic language has to have a big presence in our future strategies.
Saudi Arabia is the most active Arab country, which serves the Arabic language in different ways. It hosts specialized colleges for teaching Arabic language, seven university colleges for teaching non-Arabic speaking students and more than 10 chairs for teaching Arabic in some international universities. Saudi activity in the area of Arabic language on the Internet is the most prominent in the Arab world.
In the era of late King Abdullah, a series of leading projects were launched including King Abdullah initiative for Arabic content on the Internet, the Unified Arab Index (initiated by King Abdulaziz Public Library), King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Award for Translation, and King Abdullah International Center for Serving Arabic Language.
Such projects and efforts could be a basis for an integrated futuristic vision toward the Arabic language.
King Abdullah International Center for Serving Arabic Language could be transformed into a broader public authority to serve the language.
— By Sulaiman Al-Dhayyan
Vacant land fees
Imposition of fees or tax on vacant lands will undoubtedly lead to reduction of their prices. If applied, the fees would give the land monopolists two options, either to make proper investment on the land or pay the fees. Both will raise supply at the expense of demand and, inevitably, cut prices.
Housing Minister Majid Al-Hoqail was, I believe, the first one to highlight the major reasons behind the housing crisis in the Kingdom. In 2009, when he was the CEO of Rafal Real Estate Development Co, he said that the crisis lied in the soaring prices of end products and inability of consumers to own a house.
He, further, attributed the soaring prices of end products to the increase in land prices. During the last 10 years, prices of lands skyrocketed to illogic limits. Land prices grew by 400 percent in some cities and, thus, became out of reach of consumers.
Therefore, a drop in land prices has become inevitable in the light of reluctance of consumers to purchase lands and imposition of fees, on the other hand. Ironically, some of real estate landlords are raising hue and cry over this decision. They are trying to stoke fears of negative consequences of this decision.
Land prices in recent years did not increase because of the natural supply and demand mechanism but, rather, came as a result of greedy property owners who have monopolized lands and controlled their prices.
Time has come to set things in order by the “fee imposition” law and most important thing is the fair implementation of law.
— By Sattam Al-Thaqai
Respecting expat workers
Undoubtedly, we do support creation of job opportunities for all Saudi citizens and they should be trained properly to live up to the expectations of the Saudi labor market.
That, however, does not mean that we should unnecessarily start criticizing the expatriates. It is wrong to blame them for our problems.
I don’t agree with many Saudi analysts or writers who accuse the foreigners of usurping jobs meant for Saudis. We should not forget that they came to the Kingdom because our country needed their services. They did not invade the Saudi cities. We should avoid such criticism.
We should not ignore the fact that we will continue to need their help in various sectors. It is true that some of expat workers have left bad impression on our minds or committed crimes and, therefore, they should be deported, but we have to admit that others have contributed to the development of our country. It is our right to localize jobs and provide our citizens with job opportunities or preference but without ignoring the rights of expat workers in line with the rule: Either to allow them to stay in a dignified manner or release them in a nice way.
If we keep expat workers, we are keeping them for our needs and, therefore, we have to treat them in a good manner. It is our religious duty to respect other people without any discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color or creed. We should not encourage racial hatred in our society. We feel bad whenever anybody in the West misbehave with Arabs or Muslims. Then why should we treat others in a similar manner in our own country? We should deal with foreigners humbly and should give them due respect.
— By Abu Lujain Al Dahman