Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Saudi Arabia’s New Blood | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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(Asharq Al-Awsat)

In a vitally important and effective step, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz has brought in new blood to Saudi Arabia’s government and ministries.

This represents a comprehensive and formidable government, combining the vitality of youth and the wisdom of age. This government includes ministers in their thirties, including the new ministers of justice, culture and information. What we are witnessing is the entry of new names into Saudi Arabia’s government, individuals who come from various backgrounds including banking and the private sector.

King Salman Bin Abdulaziz began his reign by giving his people an important gift by awarding a bonus of two months’ salary for all government employees, students and pensioners—serving as both a financial and morale boost.

King Salman did not forget Saudi Arabia’s cultural, professional and sporting clubs and societies, in total gifting hundreds of millions of riyals as part of a goodwill gesture on his ascension to the throne. The Saudi King even offered a total of 34 million riyals to provide free water and electricity services to citizens.

However, in my view, the establishment of two new governing councils to oversee and assist with government work is far more important than these financial provisions. King Salman ordered the establishment of the Council for Political and Security Affairs, and the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, which represent a big step forward in Saudi state administration.

These two new councils will see an increased focus and effort in state administration, securing coordination and cooperation between different ministries and government agencies on various issues and easing the burden on the King and Crown Prince.

This new administration system has led to the cancelling of many old mechanisms and apparatus in terms of Saudi Arabia’s political affairs, education system and public services. We are seeing government services being streamlined according to either political or economic specifications. Security, of course, will come under politics, while development will fall under economy.

This new vitality, speed and intensity in Saudi Arabia’s decision-making, which will affect every aspect and dimension of the state, is evidence of the Kingdom’s ability to renew and develop itself. This renewal and regeneration is something that sometimes takes place gradually, and at other times quickly, based on need. Therefore, what we are now seeing is a vital state that is open to change and development. Just as we saw a smooth transition of rule to a new generation of the House of Saud, we have seen a transition to a new generation of Saudi Arabia’s political elite. This is, no doubt, a good and reassuring message to a troubled world.