New SME body ‘will generate jobs for Saudis’

Updated 29 October 2015

New SME body ‘will generate jobs for Saudis’

RIYADH: The newly formed Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises approved by the Cabinet on Monday will help create jobs for young Saudis and boost the economy, according to experts.
One of the most important functions of the new body would be to facilitate funding for these small and medium enterprises (SME), they were quoted as saying by a local publication on Tuesday.
Saleh Al-Hassini, chairman of the Shoura Council’s economy and energy committee, said that the authority would remove several obstacles facing SMEs, which is crucial for the country’s economic growth.
Al-Hassini said that the authority would ensure that SMEs become more competitive and innovative, and attract investment. He praised the government for setting up this and other similar bodies and urged the Council of Saudi Chambers to support it.
Mansoor bin Abdullah Al-Shathri, a member of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and head of the board of trustees of the Riyadh Center for SME Development, said that the authority would create employment opportunities for Saudis.
Al-Shathri said that expatriates made up 86 percent of the SME sector in the country. This goes against trends in other countries, and is preventing citizens from investing in the sector, he said.
He said that the authority would help grow the sector, which makes up over 99 percent of commercial firms in the country. It would oversee the sector and fulfill the goals of the government’s economic plans, he said.
The Cabinet, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Monday, set up the body, which will have financial and administrative independence, and be overseen by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The authority would regulate and grow the small and medium enterprise sector in the Kingdom, so that it makes a substantial contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, and create jobs, the Cabinet said in a statement.
The authority would also ensure financial support for the sector through the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, the statement said.

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 22 August 2018

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.