450,000 jobs by 2020 eyed in non-govt sector under NTP

Left to right: Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammad Benten, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, Water and Environment Minister Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli, Minister of Civil Service Khalid Al Arj, and Minister of State Mohammad Al Al Shaikh attend a press conference on Tuesday in Jeddah announcing the kingdom's National Transformation Plan. (SPA)
Updated 07 June 2016

450,000 jobs by 2020 eyed in non-govt sector under NTP

JEDDAH: Close to half million jobs in the non-government sector by 2020 is expected to be generated under the kingdom’s National Transformation Program 2020 (NTP 2020) endorsed by the Saudi Cabinet late on Monday, officials said on Tuesday.
Also envisioned is a decrease in the total cost of state salaries from SAR480 billion to SAR 456 billion by 2020, which would mean a reduction in the share of public wages in the budget from 45 percent to 40 percent.
An increase in non-oil revenues from SAR163.5 billion to SAR530 billion riyals by 2020 is also planned as the kingdom reduces the economy’s dependence on oil.
In a press conference, Minister of State and Cabinet Member Mohamed bin Abdulmalik Al Al-Sheikh said NTP 2020 is part of Saudi Vision 2030, a reform drive led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister, which set goals expected to be achieved during the next 15 years.
“This is phase one of addressing the challenges,” he said, adding there will be “no substantial fiscal impact” on the state budget, partly because some savings have already been made.
At the heart of the reform effort is a previously announced plan to float less than five percent of oil giant Saudi Aramco on the stock market, with the proceeds to help form what will become the world’s largest state investment fund, with some $2 trillion in assets.
Sheikh said NTP 2020 will be implemented through more than 500 initiatives at a cost of 270 billion riyals ($72 billion) over the next five years, with 40 percent of the funding coming from the private sector.

No income taxes
No income taxes are planned in NTP 2020, but higher government fees and taxes on “harmful products” such as tobacco are being highly considered, officials said.
Further cuts to water and electricity subsidies — already imposed last year after the country posted a record budget deficit — will lead to an additional 200 billion riyals in savings, the plan says.
The creation of non-government jobs will focus on developing Saudi industry in a range of sectors, from renewable energy to car manufacturing to tourism.
Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khaled Al-Falih said that under the plan Saudi Arabia will be “a very strong competitor in renewable energy,” and will implement “massive” projects to produce more natural gas.
He said the ministry plans to build an international complex for marine industries that will provide 80,000 jobs and cut imports by $12 billion annually.
A number of industrial cities are also planned and slated to generate 150,000 jobs, Falih said.
Unemployment is to fall from 11.6 to 9.0 percent by 2020 under the plan, with the proportion of women in the workforce rising from 23 to 28 percent.
Education reforms will aim to push more Saudis into the private sector, with the number of students in technical and vocational training programs rising from about 104,000 to 950,000.
Noting that “transparency is crucial to the success” of the plan, it calls for regular updates on progress in reaching the targets — an unusual display of openness from Saudi authorities.
Local and foreign reporters were invited to Jeddah for the unveiling of the targets and government ministers were to be available for three days to answer questions.

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Main objectives of the 112-page NTP 2020:
• Generate 450,000 jobs in non-government sectors
• Reduce the wage bill from 45 to 40 percent of the state budget
• Implement more than 500 initiatives at a cost of SAR270 billion, 40 percent of which would come from the private sector
• Raise non-oil revenues from SAR163.5 billion to a staggering SAR530 billion
• Boost public assets from SAR3 trillion to SAR5 trillion, a 67 percent rise
• Maintain oil production capacity at 12.5 million barrels per day, while raising gas production from 11 billion cubic feet to 17.8 billion cubic feet daily
• Raise the number of annual Haj pilgrims from 1.5 million to 2.5 million, while increasing the number of Umrah visitors from seven million to 15 million per year
• Build an international complex for marine industries that will provide 80,000 jobs and cut imports by $12 billion a year
• Continue to cut subsidies, with reductions in water and electricity subsidies projected to save SAR200 billion
• Raise the value of non-oil exports from SAR185 billion to SAR330 billion 
• Cut the unemployment rate for Saudis from 11.6 percent to nine percent
• Raise the proportion of women in the job market from 23 percent to 28 percent
• Increase investments in tourism from SAR145 billion to SAR171.5 billion 
• Boost Foreign Direct Investment from SAR30 billion to SAR70 billion 

(With input from SPA and AFP)


Saudi, Brazil UN envoys seek to strengthen ties

Updated 07 August 2020

Saudi, Brazil UN envoys seek to strengthen ties

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, held talks through a video conference with Ronaldo Costa Filho, Brazil’s UN representative.
The meeting reviewed the bilateral relationships and cooperation between the two countries, as well as issues of common interest, global political developments and cooperation between their UN delegations.
Filho praised the Kingdom’s efforts in fighting terrorism and its cooperation with the international community, as well as the efforts of Al-Mouallimi in leading the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) advisory board.
Al-Mouallimi praised the support provided by Brazil to UNOCT and its cooperation with the international community.
The meeting also discussed Saudi-Brazilian cooperation within the G20, presided by Saudi Arabia in 2020. Filho commended the Kingdom for leading the group amid the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.