1997 News Story

Council of Ministers Meeting

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz today presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and stated that the Kingdom's social, political and economic administration has always proceeded on the basis of Islamic principles, emphasizing that Saudi Arabia is committed to following the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.

Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd went on to explain at length the number of mosques that the Kingdom has either built or contributed to, both within and outside the country, referring to a total of some 210 Islamic Centers worldwide, and more than 1,350 mosques. The most recent of these is the King Fahd Mosque in Gibraltar, which will be completed on August 8, 1997.

The cabinet then discussed the report from the committee which had studied how to transfer certain aspects of government companies and services to private individuals, and agreeing that the private sector's share in the economy should be increased, recommended the following goals:
1. Encouraging the private sector to invest and share in developing the national economy in order to increase production and achieve prosperity;
2. Increasing individuals' shares in productive assets;
3. Encouraging domestic investment of both national and foreign capital;
4. Increasing employment opportunities and individual incomes;
5. Increasing the production of the national economy to compete internationally, this goal to be considered with particular reference to membership in the World Trade Organization;
6. Reducing the time and cost of services to individual investors;
7. Encouraging the private sector to finance, operate, and maintain certain services in order to reduce government expenditure;
8. Increasing the government's income by selling its share in certain projects to individuals.

After discussing other items on its agenda, the cabinet passed a number of resolutions including approval of negotiations by the Minister of the Interior with the interior minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan for a security agreement on cooperation against crime.