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Saudi Press Roundup

GCC’s war on terror

Security coordination between the GCC countries goes back to the time of the bloc’s establishment in response to threats faced by the region in late 1970s and early 1980s.
The 9/11 terror attacks proved to be a turning point in modern human history and gave a new impetus to the fight against extremism and terrorism not only in the GCC countries but also in the entire world.
The GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, witnessed a hike in attacks by Al-Qaeda with the sole aim to destabilize the country. In 2002, the GCC countries formed a joint security strategy to fight terrorism. In 2004, the GCC ministers of interior in their 23th meeting in Kuwait signed the GCC agreement to activate the strategy to fight extremism.
It was comprehensive agreement providing legal and regulatory framework. In addition to these efforts, a permanent security committee on terrorism was formed in 2006. All terror-related issues are referred to this body, which hold regular meetings to review anti-terror efforts in the GCC.
The GCC is making all-out efforts to fight terrorism and is contributing to the global war on terror. Unfortunately, the international media does not acknowledge the services of the GCC countries. As a matter of fact, the global media tend to demonize the GCC.

—Ibrahim Al-Othaimeen


Fighting unemployment

The rate of unemployment among the Saudi citizens stood at nearly 11.5 percent in the second half of 2015.
In other words, there were some 647,000 male and female youths waiting to get a job and hoping to enjoy a decent life. To address this issue, planners of the Saudi Vision 2030 laid down plans to curb unemployment rate and bring it down to 7 percent.
We are experiencing disparity between the outputs of higher education institutions and the needs of the labor market. Moreover, abundance of certain specialties not required by the labor market has created some social and economic problems.
The labor market is the only factor that determines the required numbers of specialties on which programs in the higher education institutions are designed. We find large number of programs being offered in humanities. Somehow, science is very much ignored in our society.
Officials of the higher education need a clear and updated database on requirements and skills needed by the labor market. In this context, labor market institutions and professionals outside the higher education have to be involved in designing higher education programs.
The Saudi Vision 2030 obliges us to re-prioritize our sectors, programs and initiatives in the higher education through transparent steps.

— By Abdulrahman Al-Alayyan


Rewarding physicians

A surgeon at the Jeddah-based King Abdulaziz University has raised the issue of transferring Saudi physicians to administrative departments.
Dr. Ali Hasan Al-Farsi has mentioned three major reasons for this phenomenon, the first of which is risks associated with clinical physicians compared to the administrative work.
A patient holds his physician responsible for any complication that might occur during treatment whereas administrative work bears no such risks despite equal financial privileges in both areas.
Secondly, absence of financial incentives for a physician who, for instance, examines 100 patients on a daily basis receives the same benefits as the one who sees only 10 patients. In developed countries, such as Canada and Australia, this issue was addressed in the form of rewards given to physicians who treated more patients or who performed the highest number of operations.
Thirdly, bureaucracy and administrative obstacles prevent physicians to excel. Based on the above, the Ministry of Health has to give chance to Saudi physicians to undertake their jobs in a creative way and work out a salary structure to reward the distinguished ones.
The ministry can also assign distinguished physicians with administrative work in addition to their clinical duties.

— By Mohammed Bita Al-Biladi


Reforms program

The Saudi Cabinet has recently approved a series of decisions aimed at increasing non-oil revenues in a bid to offset the sharp drop in oil prices. The steps have reportedly come as part of a reform program to control budget deficits through reduction of unnecessary spending and restructuring of ministries and government agencies.
The government, meanwhile, opted to increase state revenues through increasing prices of oil products, water and electricity bills and fees on the vacant (white) lands, among others.
In the long term, these measures are aimed at diversifying sources of income by increasing non-oil revenues by 512 percent compared to what has been achieved in non-oil revenues of the last year’s budget, which amounted to SR163.5 billion.
The increase of fees is considered a key tributary for the government to increase non-oil revenues.

— By Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Miraishid


SMEs and Saudi economy

The new governor of the Authority of Small and Medium Enterprises, Ghassan Al-Sulaiman, has called on those concerned with this sector to provide him with their proposals on how to develop it.
The SME sector is not new in the Kingdom, but what is new is the creation of a government entity to look after this sector.
The development and promotion of SMEs is one of the key initiatives of the Saudi Vision 2030. There are many initiatives that could be taken to boost the sector in the Kingdom, notably provision of legal and logistic support to the youth.
Secondly, the SME authority has to assist young businessmen on how to market their products and persuade big companies such as Saudi Aramco and SABIC purchase those products.
Thirdly, exploitation of the gatherings of businessmen and chambers of commerce to support youths with their experiences and relations typically as do mentors in the West for beginners.
SMEs should be exempted from changes to the Labor Ministry’s policies. SMEs should be promoted locally by imposing ban on the grouping of foreign labor against them and by helping them export their products.
Encouragement of family-based projects to grow and develop and exploitation of other countries’ experience in this context could also prove to be very important.

— By Abdullah bin Rabian


Targeting civilians

Houthi militias and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh have no qualms about targeting children and unarmed civilians. Last week, these elements committed this crime once again by randomly shelling Najran.
Their bloody history with the children, elderly and women of Yemen affirms that they are just a criminal-terrorist gang. Who will forget their heinous crime with 10-year-old Osama Bidair in Ibb city, Yemen, when they stormed his house and killed him with his family members?
When his relatives searched for his body, they found it stuffed with explosives making it impossible for anybody to touch the body.
The crimes committed by Houthis militia and Saleh’s froces in Najran will not go unpunished. The security of Saudi Arabia, its citizen and residents is a red line.
The answer came quickly and swiftly where bodies of the killed militants in the mountains and beds of valleys along the Saudi border increased. Our brave soldiers are teaching the enemy a lesson.
What is being done by the gangs of Murran Mountains in Yemen and along the Saudi borders is the same act being carried out by the agents of Iran in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Killing of children, women and civilians is an Iranian approach being adopted by its agents in all Arab countries.

— By Sattam Al-Thaqail