Saudi Vision 2030 Requires Comprehensive Implementation
18 August 2016
By Khaled Almaeena
The Saudi Vision 2030 transformation plan has come under great public
scrutiny. It has also aroused the interest of many outside the country. For
the first time in Saudi history, a well-crafted plan has been displayed
publicly. Over the years, we have seen many five-year plans but not much has
been revealed about their successful completion.
With regard to Saudi Vision 2030, many were skeptical at first, but,
gradually, enthusiasm has started to build. Frankly, the plan on paper is good
and we truly hope it will materialize. However, for it to be implemented
successfully, we need to have dedicated groups of people – not only from the
government sector but from the private sector as well. A marriage of both
these groups will ensure sound progress. However, those in charge of the
transformation should make it very clear that bureaucracy must not be a
hindrance to advancement.
The public is truly frustrated with the red tape and arrogance of bureaucrats.
Public statements of Saudi Arabia welcoming foreign investment and promising
to provide facilities are useless until practical steps are evolved. While
foreign investments are being welcomed and facilities offered to investors,
the government should not forget those who have already come, invested and
served the community. Some of the new laws are proving to be detrimental. We
should not allow hasty bureaucratic decisions to harm those companies which
have been contributing to the Saudi economy. These include many in the health
and education sector. Notably among them are the Al-Abeer Medical Group and
the American Strategic Healthcare Management Company. There are also many
others. The ministries concerned should take note.
In addition, there should be transparency and good governance. Anyone
violating the basic premises of good behavior and management should be
severely dealt with.
We are facing great challenges on all fronts: Security, water and
environmental concerns, along with rising population and unemployment. How are
we going to deal with these issues? A sound and healthy economy will provide a
bulwark against encroachment by interference. A vibrant economy is a must.
Dependency on oil should be lessened by the minute and should be the foremost
goal of our planners.
The creation of jobs is also necessary. However, Saudization should be viewed
in a different context. We cannot congratulate ourselves on employing Saudi
security guards and shopkeepers. There must be a productive area where
citizens can help the nation. Inhibitions against manual work should be erased
and false patriotism should not be spread by the media, whose very role leaves
much to be desired.
No hailing and praising, please! No lulling people into a state of false
well-being. State the truth and let society know what it is. And please focus
on those who are contributing silently.
Our country has a vast reservoir of talent. Our young men and women are
dedicated to work but they do not get enough exposure. Let the media highlight
their goals, achievements and aspirations. The media should not fail the
nation. We are at a crossroads and confronting many challenges. We can
surmount all of this if we build a society that is educated and cultured and
where every individual man or woman and from every region or ethnic group has
equal rights and opportunities to shine. I am optimistic.
— The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena