By Arab News
By Khalil Hanware and Galal Fakkar
Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah yesterday reaffirmed the Kingdom’s desire to become an advanced industrialized country. “The ministry has also resolved to fight cover-up businesses that incur heavy losses to the country,” Al-Rabiah said while addressing the 12th Jeddah Economic Forum during its formal inaugural ceremony at the Jeddah Hilton. The venue was packed to capacity with top officials, decision makers, business leaders, executives, professionals, and professors and teachers.
Al-Rabiah disclosed plans to create more job opportunities for young Saudi men and women by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “In this regard we intend to open a large number of small industries that cover an area of 400 to 800 sq. meters,” he added.
The ministry will soon sign an agreement with the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) to establish a large number of institutes to train Saudis required for the Northern Waad Mining City, He said.
Al-Rabiah said his ministry would remove all obstacles facing citizens who come to complete various procedures. “We’ll remove the glass partitions between officials and those who come to us to complete various procedures,” he added.
He said the new development plans for the Northern Province was aimed at achieving a balanced regional growth.
Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Chairman Saleh Kamel gave the welcome address in which he spoke about the efforts to transform the region into an industrial hub.
A number of delegates requested Al-Rabiah and Labor Minister Adel Fakeih to put an end to bureaucratic practices at their ministries. Both discussed aspects of cooperation between the Ministries of Trade & Industry, Employment to assist entrepreneurs to set up their projects and achieve success in a market crowded with SMEs.
The fact that the world economic slowdown as well as the euro debt crisis that followed did not affect the Kingdom’s economy that stood on solid foundations, thanks to the visionary policies of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and his government, he added. “We have seen the crisis and we have to plan for the present and future generations toward realizing the hopes and aspirations of our youth,” he said.
During the session the Minister of Labor proposed a program of participation for the development of the SMEs sector in the Kingdom. The 3 pillars of the Ministry’s strategy for the labor market are to stimulate demand by the private sector for national work force, increase supply by training and developing the national work force and the alignment between supply and demand to raise the efficiency of the labor market. He pointed out that to achieve progress on these three kinds of initiatives short-term initiatives are needed to address immediate needs – and these initiatives like “Nitaqat” “Hafiz” ”Taqat” have been launched.
Speakers commended the efforts of JEF Director Lama Al-Suleiman for her skills in organizing the forum.
Kamel honored Amr Al-Dabbagh, former governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) for his contribution toward improving the investment climate in the Kingdom.