Jeddah-Three ministers held the fourth ministerial press conference to announce the new details of the National Transformation Plan – 2020, part of Saudi Vision – 2030.
Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs confirmed that his ministry is studying the new construction program, while Minister of Communication and Information Technology revealed that a holding company might take its first step towards privatizing the postal system.
Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammed al-Suwaiyel said that during the last decade, Saudi Arabia has attained a high-level communication system.
Suwaiyel revealed that the ministry was able to overcome many obstacles in order to meet the goals of Vision – 2030.
Minister Suwaiyel said that many of the challenges facing them right now include a limited infrastructure, acquiring high-speed internet, especially that 25% of communication jobs are occupied by Saudis.
Suwaiyel added that university graduates need training to fill the gap between what they learned in college and what the market offers, hinting at the possible trainings for graduates with local and international companies.
Minister Suwaiyel revealed that Information Technology only contributes to 1.2% of the Gross National Product.
According to Suwaiyel, many of the government organizations have been digitalized, yet there are still gaps that need to be filled. Suwaiyil hoped the postal sector will be privatized soon.
He also said that Riyadh is the third city in the Islamic world that produces mobile applications, something that should be used for local production.
The Minister of Telecommunication revealed that the goal is to increase internet services and promote e-commerce with the help of the international and local private sector.
Suwaiyel spoke about privatizing the Saudi Post explaining that the plan is to have a holding company with multiple branches.
Minister of Commerce and Investment Majed al-Qasabi said that the National Transformation Plan is the first executive program of the Vision.
Qasabi explained that commerce should have a strong infrastructure for consumer’s rights, stimulus that protects traders and elements that attract investors.
In addition, Qasabi stressed that Saudi Arabia with its distinguished geographical location must leave its mark in the world.
He explained that the post-oil phase requires new job opportunities and investments in order to increase the national satisfaction.
Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Engineer Abdul Latif Al-Sheikh said that the ministry is trying to promote the municipal work to international levels.
Sheikh revealed many challenges are facing the municipal sector; the biggest being the expansion of cities which have reached to 285 each with its own municipality and secretariat.
Sheikh added that the ministry’s main goal is to improve urban planning, build and maintain public facilities and infrastructure, and provide quick and highly efficient municipal services.
Sheikh explained that the strategic goals of the ministry include seven objectives and sixteen initiatives. He added that currently the sector generates only ten per cent of its finances, whereas the other ninety are provided by the government.
Minister Sheikh had hoped that the ministry would be able to alleviate the level of project management in a way that meets the needs of the residents.
Sheikh admitted there are big failures in the work of the ministry, yet he confirmed that they are handled with the utmost transparency. He announced an interactive platform for all citizens to participate as partners within the ministry.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs said that the ministry is also part of the real-estate promoters’ services at the Ministry of Housing.
He announced a program called “Baladi” that every reviewer or promoter can use to follow up on their requests. Sheikh confirmed that a building permit takes only ten days to be issued, while a retail license requires five days only.
On the new construction program, Sheikh said that the case will be studied to see if there is a need to increase the number of floors, yet “other factors should be considered like traffic and parking lots.”
The Minister of Commerce and Investments confirmed the importance of forming a committee for medium and small enterprises. He revealed that an electronic platform is underway with unified services’ center to facilitate services.
When asked about obstacles, Minister Qasabi said that “it is natural for any initiative to be hampered but there are mechanisms set to limit that.”