King: Stability, jobs top priority

Updated 12 March 2015

King: Stability, jobs top priority

Saudi Arabia is trying to minimize the impact of plunging oil prices on its economy, said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Tuesday while emphasizing his government’s plan to develop a more diversified economy.
“The low prices witnessed by the oil market are having an effect on the Kingdom’s income. However, we are working toward minimizing the impact on development," the king said in his first major speech since acceding to the throne on Jan. 23.
King Salman told government officials and other dignitaries that the search for new deposits of oil, gas and other natural resources in the Kingdom would continue. “High petrol prices during the past few years have had a positive effect on the national economy and in the development of projects,” the king said.
But the plunge in oil prices has emphasized the need for economic alternatives, and King Salman said the Kingdom's future economy "will be based on a number of foundations," with a growing number of small and medium enterprises.
“The next few years will be full of important accomplishments aimed at emphasizing the role of the industry and the service sectors in the national economy.”
King Salman emphasized that he would work for ensuring justice for all citizens and give them opportunities to realize their dreams and aspirations.
“I am deeply concerned about every citizen in the country and every part of our beloved nation and all of tem will receive my care and support. There will not be any discrimination between citizens and regions,” he told senior princes, ministers, governors, Shoura members, top military commanders, the grand mufti, Islamic scholars, top editors and other dignitaries at his palace in Riyadh.
King Salman urged Saudis to stand united. “I would like to reaffirm my desire to challenge the causes of differences and reasons of division and end social classifications that hurt national unity. All citizens are equal in rights and duties,” he said.
King Salman stressed the role of media in enabling the public to express their opinion, and spreading facts without causing division and conflicts in society. “The media should be a means for strengthening national unity and boosting development.”
He said Saudi Arabia would continue its efforts to achieve comprehensive, integrated and balanced development for all regions. “Ever since the Kingdom’s founder, the government has been making continuous efforts for development and modernization, without deviating from religious principles and social values while protecting the rights of all citizens.”
He said he had instructed the Council for Political and Security Affairs and the Council for Economic and Development Affairs to double their efforts to boost citizens’ prosperity. “We’ll not accept any leniency in this matter,” he added.
King Salman told all ministers and government officials that they have been appointed in their positions to serve citizens. “We have instructed that systems of monitoring agencies must be reviewed to strengthen their efficiency and performance in order to fight corruption, protect public wealth and punish culprits.”
The king reminded citizens of their great responsibility in safeguarding the country’s security and stability and urged them to stand united with the leadership and government against the country’s spiteful enemies.
He praised the Kingdom’s security forces for their efforts to foil many terrorist operations that targeted the nation, its citizens and vital installations. “I would like to inform all citizens and residents in this country that security is the responsibility of all and we’ll not allow anybody to tamper with our security and stability.”
King Salman said the government would support small and medium enterprises to achieve substantial growth and serve as a strong economic base for a large group of citizens.
Referring to the service sector, he said the government would adopt effective steps to improve health services to citizens all over the Kingdom. “Health centers as well as referral and specialized hospitals will be made accessible to all.”
Speaking about housing problem, the king said the government would find quick and practical solutions for all citizens to have suitable homes. He emphasized the need to integrate general and higher education and provide advanced infrastructure facilities for educational institutions. “Graduates of these institutions must meet the country’s development and job market requirements.”
King Salman reiterated the government’s efforts to provide higher education to Saudis by enabling them to study at reputable institutions inside and outside Saudi Arabia. “The nation has lots of expectations from you and you have to concentrate on gaining the best education,” the king told students.
Describing students as an investment for the nation’s future, he said the government would continue its efforts to provide them with suitable jobs to have a decent living. “It’s joint responsibility of public and private sectors to provide employment opportunities for citizens,” he added.
Addressing businessmen and businesswomen, the king said: “You are partners in progress and the state supports the private sector to enhance its contribution to the national economy. We have provided a lot of facilities and special rights for you and the state expects from you a lot. You have to come up with initiatives for job creation and social and economic services.”
King Salman instructed regional governors to receive citizens and listen to their problems and proposals for the nation’s progress and take steps to enhance their welfare and comfort.
He highlighted King Abdul Aziz’s efforts to unify the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and establish a modern state on the basis of Shariah. “By the grace of God, your country is going ahead on the path of progress and growth, making solid steps, while adhering to the teachings of Shariah and preserving our culture and traditions.”
King Salman also spoke about the government’s efforts to enhance services for pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah. “Since the time of its establishment, Saudi Arabia has been exerting all possible efforts in the service of Islam and to realize the hopes and aspirations of Muslims all over the world.” He said Saudi Arabia considered its services for the two holy mosques as an honor.
He also addressed the Kingdom’s armed and security forces and said the government would continue its efforts to strengthen their capabilities to defend the country’s security and stability.
“Our foreign policy is based on the teachings of Islam that calls for affection and peace as well as international charters and agreements...We reject interference in our internal affairs and we defend Arab and Islamic causes.”
He said Saudi Arabia has emphasized the right of the Palestinians to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. “We’ll continue our efforts to achieve Arab and Islamic unity and solidarity to improve relations and confront challenges. We’ll also work for global peace and stability.”
The king emphasized the Kingdom’s policy of settling differences through dialogue and peaceful means. He also referred to the Kingdom’s endeavors to fight terrorism and extremism in cooperation with the international community. Saudi Arabia will support efforts to protect environment and achieve sustainable development, he added.
The king began his speech by saying: “I have the pleasure to address you with a heart full of love and sincerity looking forward to a bright future for the country.” He concluded his speech by seeking God’s help to fulfill his responsibilities in the best manner.

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

Updated 21 October 2019

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

  • About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first all-female tourist group has explored the environmental and archaeological wonders of Tabuk in the northwest of the Kingdom.

About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea.

“They were astonished to see such sights in their country, especially the area of Ras Al-Sheikh Humaid,” said Heba Al-Aidai, a tour guide in Tabuk who organized the trip.

“They did not expect to see such a place in Saudi Arabia. They looked speechless while standing close to the turquoise water of the sea. It is a truly breathtaking view.”

Al-Aidai and her colleague Nafla Al-Anazi promoted the trip on social media and attracted a group of homemakers, teachers and staff workers from all over the Kingdom, aged from 22 to over 50.

The tour was educational, too, and the women were told about the history of the places they visited. “They were taken to the Caves of Shuaib (Magha’er Shuaib), the place where Prophet Moses fled after leaving Egypt, and where he got married to one of the daughters of Prophet Shuaib, according to some historians. It was really a positive experience,” Al-Aidai said.

The visitors also explored Tayeb Ism, a small town in northwestern Tabuk, where there is a well-known gap in the towering mountains through which water runs throughout the year.

Al-Aidai said such trips aim to encourage tourism in Tabuk, and introduce Saudi tourists and other visitors to the landmarks of the region.