Ministry for industry and mineral resources makes sense
Saudi Arabia created a new ministry for industry and mineral resources, separating it from energy, after a study of the Kingdom’s rapidly changing economic base.
Since the launch of the Saudi Vision 2030 in April 2016, some ministries and government agencies have been restructured to suit the objectives and strategies of that process.
The oil, gas, petrochemical, energy, electricity, industry and mineral resources sectors were merged into a single portfolio, called the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources. All of these enormous economic activities have been under one roof.
It meant that most of the sources of the Kingdom’s income were contained in one ministry; namely the world’s biggest oil exporting company, the largest electricity company in the Middle East and North Africa, the second-largest reserves of phosphates and not to mention the 35 fully serviced industrial cities, refining, petrochemical and petroleum industries.
The difficulty of managing all these companies and industries within one department was obvious and required radical change to comply with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The first challenge facing the new Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources is to reformulate the Saudi industrial strategy according to the expectations of Vision 2030
The separation of the industry and mineral wealth activities into a standalone ministry reflects the broader push to develop a more diversified industrial base that is no longer solely dependent on crude oil sales.
This is not only a smarter way of organizing the stewardship of the Kingdom’s key resources, but also helps to support the development of Saudi engineers and technicians and the formation of a skills base better matched to the productive needs of the economy.
Over past decades, industry has been a guest at many ministries from trade, to electricity and finally to energy. But the focus of industrial development in the country has changed dramatically over that time.
The first challenge facing the new Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources is to reformulate the Saudi industrial strategy according to the expectations of Vision 2030.
Nurturing more homegrown Saudi talent within the Kingdom’s industrial economic base will be key to the successful delivery of that vision.
• Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco.