Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Agriculture Receives Alternative Energy Bids, Prepares Divisions for Privatization | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Kingdom Tower stands in the night above the Saudi capital Riyadh November 16, 2007. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

Jeddah – Saudi Agriculture Undersecretary Dr. Adel Duaiji confirmed that expert companies submitted requests to the ministry in order to invest in alternative energy.

Most of the investments pitched involve the water and agriculture sectors, which currently are fuel dependent.

The ministry supports and welcomes green initiatives, Dr. Duaiji told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Duaiji added that he has been contacting the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology to arrange for drawing all types of alternative energies that serve agriculture and water.

Researches, scientific studies and experiments that are compatible with the national Kingdom Vision 2030 and conducted by the academic body on alternative energy will be used to aid investors with their goals.

As part of the reform drive, Saudi Arabia aims to reduce electricity and water subsidies by 200 billion riyals ($53 billion) and reduce non-oil subsidies by 20 percent by 2020.

Vision 2030 also aims to boost the private sector participation in water and electricity sectors.

Duaiji added that alternative energy provides an upbeat in employment opportunities and creates diverse jobs.

He added that the government is also working on privatizing agricultural services, pointing out that the ministry has proposed a number of national parks being put up for private investment.

Agricultural maintenance and development will also be handed over to the private sector, with the ministry’s role focusing on monitoring and legislation.

Undersecretary Duaiji said that agricultural services provided by the ministry include protection, cultivation services and guidance in a calculated measure to facilitate integrating the private sector into agriculture.

Saudi Arabia started restructuring its energy and water sectors to support sweeping economic reform plans

It is worth mentioning that wellness centers and veterinary clinics are also being considered for privatization.

Last year, through royal decrees, the Water and Electricity Ministry was split into two ministries. The Energy ministry is in charge of electricity as well industry and mineral resources, while the water portfolio was incorporated into a new Environment, Water and Agriculture Ministry.