1996 News Story

Council of Ministers meeting

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers today, and said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is keen to develop the industrial sector and increase its contribution to the GDP. King Fahd also called on the private sector to benefit from alternatives which will better contribute to the enhancement of industry taking into account international economic developments.

King Fahd announced that studies on measures pertaining to systems of licenses and industrial cities have been made, in order to chart out an integrated and coordinated industrial policy. He noted that the Kingdom would benefit from the experiences of countries which attained progress in industrial development within a record period.

Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that the King cited important industrial standards to help utilize domestic potential, such as skilled labor, trained engineers, enlightened scientists and successful administrators along with national research facilities. Such measures have been applied in the petrochemical industry.

King Fahd then stressed the importance development plans attach to industrialization in the quest to diversify production bases and lessen dependence on oil as well as enhancing the contribution of the private sector to development, promoting the skills of the Saudi manpower, and the establishment of a concrete technological base in the Kingdom. In support of that, the King disclosed that the volume of investments in 2,476 of the licensed productive plants totals SR. 163 billion.(43.5 billion US dollars).

Regarding the Saudization process among industrial companies, King Fahd expressed satisfaction and called upon the private sector to do more and provide training opportunities for national manpower. In this context, he cited SABIC as an example where the Saudis account for more than 65% of the work force.

Turning to the Middle East, the cabinet criticized the Israeli decision in favor of building more settlements, considering this a setback to the agreements concluded with the Palestinians and a consolidation of Israeli occupation of Arab territories. In this regard, King Fahd hailed the US position and the responsibility it assumes in sponsoring the peace process.