Ministers’ visits abroad ‘only if very essential’

Updated 26 February 2013
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Ministers’ visits abroad ‘only if very essential’

All ministers in Saudi Arabia now should limit their visits abroad to urgent matters that require their presence, according to a new circular issued by a prominent government body.
The international travels of ministers have had a negative impact on the Cabinet’s weekly sessions, since some ministers are absent from conferences, meetings, forums and symposiums.
An internal circular issued by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers said these visits would have little benefit since the ministers are not required to personally attend those functions. The circular stressed that the ministers should attend Cabinet sessions and be present in their offices.
The circular stressed the importance of a previous decision issued two years ago to regulate participation of officials in international conferences, meetings, forums and symposiums. It noted that any foreign visit by a minister or official should take into consideration factors such as pressing issues at hand, political situation and financial commitments. Saudi Arabia has 30 ministers.
A minister cannot be represented at the Cabinet by anyone except another minister. The term of a minister is four years.
The new edict comes as part of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s political reforms. He set up the National Anti-Corruption Commission for the smooth operation of the government departments.
According to Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, state minister and commander of the National Guard, King Abdullah appointed the Royal Court staff and ministers considering their good qualities. “He gave priority to those who are God fearing and trustworthy,” he added.
King Abdullah appointed trustworthy officials who can deliver, meet the needs of citizens and understand their hopes and aspirations, said Prince Miteb, the king’s eldest son. He said the king removed some ministers and senior officials after completing their four-year terms.


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 51 min ago
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.