86 years of progress and prosperity
The 86th National Day reflects the glorious history of Saudi Arabia, which once divided, was united by Allah the Almighty, based on truth and justice.
Since its unification under the able leadership of its founder, King Abdulaziz, the Kingdom has been blessed with security, safety and prosperity.
All through its 86 outstanding years, the wise leadership showed a genuine interest to serve the country, unify ranks and put the country on the path of constant development.
Guided by the teachings of Islam, a bond between the leadership and the people further became a source of strength for the country.
The Kingdom has made great strides on the path of progress, which is represented in the mega achievements in public utilities and services in both urban and rural areas.
This civic development would not have been achieved unless Allah had blessed the Kingdom with success, safety and security.
This was also not possible if the leadership had not shown interest in taking steps for the advancement of the country and overcoming difficulties whereby the citizens could enjoy a peaceful and prosperous life.
Being proud of our country’s safety and security, we should use this occasion to send our gratitude to the bold and brave soldiers of all the military departments for their fearless role to defend the homeland and maintain its stability.
This stability has kept our economy steady and earned the country a coveted place in the G20.
Moreover, our mega projects have opened avenues for youth employment and accelerated the wheel of development in the country.
— Prince Badr bin Mohammed Jalawi
Bank of minds
A RETIRED brigadier general said he is part of a society that has 400,000 retired members. Some of them are experts in a variety of knowledge- and science-based discipline. This is besides many other retirees who have held the rank of advisers throughout their three decades of continuous work and practices. In this context, I suggest the formation of a “bank of minds” to be run by the retirees in accordance with standards to be fixed by a committee of the retirees.
I also recommend the launch of an academy for training the retirees under the name of the “academy of minds” together with the organization of media campaigns, lectures and TV programs, concerned with retirees, in addition to establishing a hiring firm to employ retirees.
Through this initiative, people can organize a series of social activities, journeys and publish a periodical on retirees, launch a sports center for retirees and set up a financial center with a capital of at least SR2bn drawn from donations of the retirees.
Also within this initiative, there could be an academy aimed to refine the skills of the retirees scientifically and professionally in cooperation with one of the private universities.
The “bank of minds” is to be exclusively allocated for retirees and established on the recommendation from the Shoura Council and submitted to the Cabinet for approval.
The bank will work as an investment bank, half of its capital (SR1bn) to be funded by the government and the other half to be subscribed by the retirees.
The retirees will, therefore, make sure that their experiences will not go unrecognized and that they have an added source of income in addition to the pension they get and, hence, they will continue serving the homeland as long as they live.
— Abdulaziz Matouq Hasnain
DESPITE huge historical and natural tourism potentials enjoyed by the GCC countries, the absence of facilities serving tourism, and the means of transportation to those locations is hampering the proper exploitation of those potentials.
Additionally, the GCC tourist areas lack the services of specialized tourism companies caring for such areas whether in promoting them, or coordinating with other public or private sectors to drum up investments.
Similarly, tourism in the GCC countries, at the internal or inter-GCC level, is suffering from recession or weakness compared to the volume of tourism between the GCC and other countries.
Some of the GCC countries have agencies or authorities in charge of tourism while others lack such authorities.
However, shortage of official support to the tourism sector in terms of infrastructure projects or provision of financial aid to the investors will hinder the efforts to benefit from tourist areas, economically, socially and developmentally.
In this context, a conference of the GCC Geographical Society held in Salalah, Oman, has stressed the need for the establishment of a regional tourism authority at the GCC level and under the umbrella of the GCC Secretariat General.
The proposed authority could presumably promote tourism between the GCC countries, exchange expertise and contribute to streamlining the tourism sector positively for the best interests of the GCC countries.
— Ablah Marshad
National dialogue and tolerance
SAUDI ARABIA has a a group of neighboring countries torn by wars as a result of sectarian, political and ideological differences and also due to an absence of the spirit of tolerance among them.
In this miserable situation, wise Saudi men have taken an initiative to protect their country from sectarian intolerance and partisanship to ideological affiliations.
The Kingdom has exerted enormous efforts in spreading the spirit of tolerance through King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND).
The KACND has asserted that differences in opinions, sects or trends do not necessarily mean quarrel and viewing others with uncalled for suspicion and hatred. The difference of opinion is rather a healthy trend that enriches views and refines ethics if the communal members deal with that in a civilized manner.
The center has achieved positive results in planting good values in people’s hearts such as coexistence, moderation and a sense of belonging to their homeland. It also stressed the ties of kinship, neighborhood, and friendship, which, in turn, enhance the spirit of tolerance among people.
Due to tremendous efforts exerted by the KACND, the Saudi society is looking forward to the center, coming up to the expectations of the Saudi Vision 2030. In this context, the KACND is urged to open branches in general educational schools and universities to act as a catalyst to spread values of tolerance, coexistence and moderation and remove extremism, hatred and enmity.
— Sulaiman Mohammed Al-Mihaimaid
Saving private sector
LAST month, a number of workers of mega contracting companies carried out acts of sabotage acts for failing to get their delayed salaries or dues.
Fortunately, the government moved swiftly to deal with the situation and provided the required services to workers, such as free renewal of residence permits, exit-reentry visas, or final exist visas for those desiring to leave.
Last week, the crisis of delayed salaries emerged anew not in contracting companies but in one of the private hospitals in the Eastern Region.
Over 700 employees of the hospital, including doctors, nurses and technicians, assembled outside the hospital to protest against the delay of salaries for over four months.
The delay in the payment of salaries or dues is a matter that should be dealt with firmly because those employees have family commitments, notably to meet the education expenses with the beginning of the new academic year.
The unpaid employees have other obligations in the form of payment of pending installments or utility bills such as phone, water and electricity services.
Non-payment of monthly salaries to employees by some companies will not only affect the private sector but is also detrimental to the national security.
Recently, workers stopped work in some projects and last week medical staff halted work in a hospital, a matter that needs urgent intervention to redress situations and lay down regulations that will ensure non-repetition of such crises in the companies.
Work stoppage or sabotage acts are distorting the image of our economy and the private sector, in particular, which is a strategic partner of the government sector and a major source of job generation.
— Ibrahim Mohammed Badawood
The Kingdom of peace and justice
PEACE, truth and justice have remained a longstanding policy of Saudi Arabia since its foundation in 1932.
This policy has earned the Kingdom the respect of the international community and enhanced its position as a decision-maker on regional and international issues.
Since the era of its founder King Abdulaziz, the Kingdom has kept a balanced policy in its relations with world countries.
When he met the then US President Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 after the WWII, late King Abdulaziz categorically rejected Roosevelt’s attempt to get his support for a Jewish state in Palestine.
Despite the fact that the US was leading the world in the post-war period and the Kingdom was still in the beginning of its nation-building, the king, however, remained insistent on his position on peace and preservation of the Arab rights without any compromise.
That approach has remained the basis of Saudi policy throughout the history despite facing some eventful phases.
The Kingdom has had the honor of being the founding member of the Arab League and the United Nations. It was the first country to give a call for Islamic solidarity; and it is currently an active member of the G20, which decides the world economic policies.
Besides, the Kingdom has established an Islamic Alliance to fight terrorism and is a key player in humanitarian works in which it ranked the third biggest aid donor in the world.
Besides acting as a model country to pursue a balanced policy, the Kingdom reflects, on its National Day, the spirit of integration, solidarity and harmony between the leadership and the people.