RIYADH: Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh, chairman of the Shoura Council, welcomed and thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for helping the country to thrive.
He said: “This country is thriving thanks to the wise leadership; there have many great strides and ambitious plans aiming to advance the country and provide a decent life for citizens.
“Citizens are overwhelmed by feelings of joy and happiness due to the success of economic programs designed to improve the national economic performance, diversify incomes, open fields of employment for citizens and settle business and economic activities,” he said.
“Our country has become the economics and international investors’ center of attention and an active member of the Group of Twenty (G-20).
“The announcement of the fiscal year 2018-19 is an example of the firm economic trend which represents an important part of Saudi Vision 2030. The Financial Sector Development Program is one of the programs that aim to achieve Saudi Vision 2030 with its development of the financial sector and enhancement of its efficiency in order to prepare the necessary environment to improve the citizens’ lifestyle and the country, promote investment opportunities and diversify the economic activity”, Al-Sheikh added.
“You have inaugurated the Haramain High Speed Railway project which represents a qualitative leap in rail projects, not only on the level of the Kingdom, but also on the regional level, and this mega project will contribute to serving the Kingdom’s citizens and visitors,” he said.
“The Saudi capital Riyadh hosted the second session of ‘The Future Investment Initiative 2018 (FII)’ where important agreements and investment projects were signed to build further strategic partnerships, in the presence of a large number of leaders, presidents, specialized ministers and distinguished people, pioneering decision-makers, businessmen, investors and other people who contribute to designing the future of global investment.”
Al-Sheikh added: “You have supported the national effort to maintain the Kingdom’s environment heritage through the establishment of the Council of Royal Reserves that embodies one of the national achievements to preserve the environment and restore it, in accordance with a system that sustains it. Cornerstones were laid in many major development projects.”
He noted the council’s pride in the wise leadership’s efforts to unify Arab ranks and promote Islamic solidarity to achieve security and peace in the region and in the world.
Al-Sheikh said: “At the end of each year at the Shoura Council, we have the honor to inaugurate the new year to be a motive for the council for achieving its tasks amid unlimited support from the king and crown prince, who believe in the Shoura Council’s message and its national role in the development, construction and progress process.”
He ascertained that the Shoura Council keeps pace with this support with more hard work to meet their expectations and note the citizens’ interests and their hopes which are the council’s constant concern, in accordance with their guidance for the country to be the center of action and attention.
He clarified that the council has in the past year reviewed many draft legislations, regulations and agreements and discussed government bodies’ performance reports.
The number of subjects the council discussed and reviewed last year was 244. The specialized council’s committee hosted tens of officials from many ministries and competent authorities to discover obstacles and hurdles in order to cooperate in dealing with them and finding solutions that guarantee work progress and achieving the desired goals.
In a number of its sessions, the council also hosted ministers who discussed the performance of their ministries and requirements that interest citizens in achieving an effective performance that meets their wishes and solves problems.
He said the council maintained its approach in communicating with citizens and noting their ideas and suggestions through interacting with them on media or studying petitions sent to the council via various means of communication, and in order to facilitate that, the council created a link for online petitions where any citizens can present their views and suggestions. These petitions are transferred to the council’s committees.
Al-Sheikh stressed that through its social media platforms, the council has kept pace with the citizens’ participation and interactions. The council also assigned a specialized department to communicate with society.
He said: “Your support of the Shoura Council included the role of the parliamentary diplomacy performed by the council through its affiliations with a number of unions and regional and international parliamentary forums when it hosted delegations and committees from brotherly countries’ parliamentary assemblies.
“These efforts contributed to enhancing communications with those parliaments, rectifying the distorted image of the Kingdom, its position and policies, exploring successful parliamentary experiences and reflecting the Kingdom’s positions on different international issues and events.”
Al-Sheikh thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was very cooperative in the process of the Shoura Council performing its role of parliamentary diplomacy, and enhancing that through establishing a special department concerned with Shoura Council affairs. The council also created a department for special relations.
Reaction amongst council members to the king’s speech was positive.
Dr. Alia Al-Dahlawi, an associate professor at King Abdulaziz University and a first term member of the Shoura Council, said, “The King’s inaugural speech this year set the roadmap to our duties at the Shoura Council, reflected on the Kingdom’s domestic affairs.
“The beauty of this year’s speech was that the King has given the public a view of the performance measurement and positive progress of Vision 2030, the results of which can be seen all over the Kingdom after just two years since its inauguration.
“The King also reiterated the fact that the Saudi citizen are the engine of development for the future of our country as well as asserting that Saudi women are partners in this development who have full rights according to Islamic Sharia. The King also shed a light on a new focus, to harness the potential of young Saudis and shape their talents for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Prof. Fawzia Abalkhail, former rector of Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University, said, “In the King’s opening remarks, reconfirms that the roadmap to the Kingdom’s internal and domestic policies are a reflection of the Islamic Sharia constitution of the Kingdom since the Kingdom’s founder. On matters of foreign policy, the King’s speech to the public, spoke of the Kingdom’s stance on the Palestinian cause, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Iran. In doing so, he is giving the citizens of the country a given right to understand the country’s foreign policies on the regional scale and abroad.
“The King stated that for the future development of the Kingdom, there will be a focus on future investment projects such as advanced technologies and renewable energy that will provide job opportunities and develop human resources for the future of the country’s next generation of youth.”
Lina Almaeena, cofounder and director of the first Saudi private sports company, United Sports Co., said, “The King’s speech was a very powerful speech. His trust in the country’s youth and support coinciding with the fact that Vision 2030 has mobilized 50% of Saudi population, women, into the work force, opening many sectors for their employment in a short-period of time is a sign of great positive move forward. It was really interesting to see that 81% of the population is under the age of 45, we are a fairly young nation, and with that we are working on developing and creating jobs as well as support programs to reduce unemployment.
“In the matters of foreign policies, the King reaffirmed to us all that Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine and the Palestinian issue will always be the primary issue on our foreign policy agenda until their full legitimate rights are obtained. Refuting the claims of some regional and foreign media skeptics that try to divert the Kingdom’s stance on the Palestinian cause.”