1997 News Story

King Fahd receives report from Minister of Planning

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz has sent a cable of thanks and appreciation to Minister of Planning Dr. Abdulwahab Attar and the staff of his Ministry for their efforts in producing a book reporting the achievements of the five-year development plans.

In a statement today, Dr. Attar reported that over the past 26 years since the beginning of the first five-year development plan in 1970, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spent a total of SR 4,213 billion (U.S. $ 1,123.5 billion), and added that the vast strides made by the Kingdom in various spheres provides clear evidence of the soundness of its policy under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz.
Dr. Attar stated that the number of productive factories increased from 119 in 1970 to 2,303 in 1995, with an invested capital of about SR 152.7 billion (U.S. $ 40.7 billion). The capacity for generating electricity increased from less than 344 to over 17,400 megawatts. More than 2.5 million hectares of agricultural land were distributed to citizens, increasing the area of cultivated land from 0.5 million hectares in 1970 to 1.6 million hectares in 1995. The storage capacity of the grain silos has increased to 2.38 million tons, while the annual productive capacity of the flour mills amounted to 1.35 million tons in 1995. Licenses were issued for the exploitation of granite, marble, limestone, sand, cement, argillite and basalt as well as for gold and other metals. The water desalination plants increased their capacity from only 5.1 million gallons per day in 1970 to 512 million gallons per day in 1995, and currently provide drinking water to 27 urban centers and their surrounding villages.
The extent of paved roadways rose from only 8,000 kilometers in 1970 to more than 43,000 kilometers in 1995. The number of wharves at the seaports increased from 27 in 1970 to 182 in 1995, including 45 at the industrial ports. The volume of goods handled at the commercial ports increased from 1.8 million tons in 1970 to about 26.9 million tons in 1995, while that at the industrial ports jumped from 7.7 million tons to 52.5 million tons. The number of telephone lines rose from fewer than 29,000 to 1.57 million. The number of airports increased from 16 to 25, including 3 international airports, with a passenger volume of about 25 million a year.
The number of schools increased from 3,283 in 1970 to about 21,854 in 1995, while the number of students rose from under 600,000 to more than four million. The Kingdom now has seven universities plus 14 colleges for girls, and the number of students attending institutions of higher education increased from 8,000 in 1970 to about 185,000 in 1995. The number of trainees at vocational training centers increased from 578 to 9,700, and those in technical schools from 840 to 29,000.
In 1970 there were 74 hospitals and 591 primary health care centers; in 1995 there were 285 and about 3,300 respectively, with the total number of beds increasing from 9,000 to 41,916. The number of physicians working in hospitals increased from 1,172 to 30,306, the number of nurses from 3,261 to 60,736, and the number of technical assistants from 1,741 to 33,047. In addition, there are now 77 centers for social care. Sports clubs have increased in number from 53 to 154, and sports federations from 5 to 22. The number of television transmission centers increased from 7 to 115, and broadcasting stations from 4 to 22, plus 19 FM stations.
Concerning the expansion of the Holy Mosque in Makkah, the increase in area is from 152,000 square meters to 356,000 square meters, while that of the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah increased from 16,000 square meters to 418,000 square meters. Throughout the Kingdom, the number of mosques now exceeds 35,000. The production capacity of the Madinah-based King Fahd Holy Qur'an Printing Complex is currently more than seven million copies per year.
Over the past 26 years, government funds has covered loans worth a total of SR 262.2 billion (U.S. $ 69.9 billion) in various sectors including agriculture and industry. The real estate fund extended about SR 111 billion (U.S. $ 29.6 billion) in loans. The Saudi Industrial Development Fund extended about SR 57.9 billion (U.S. $ 15.4 billion), the Saudi Agricultural Bank SR 28.5 billion (U.S. $ 7.6 billion), the Saudi Investment Fund SR 55.9 billion (U.S. $ 14.9) and the Saudi Bank of Credit about SR 5.1 billion (U.S. $ 1.4 billion). Over the same period, the state extended SR 22 billion (U.S. $ 5.9 billion) in subsidies for foodstuffs, SR 19.1 billion (U.S. $ 5.1 billion) in agricultural subsidies, SR 34.2 billion (U.S. $ 9.1 billion) for social security, SR 3.7 billion (U.S. $ 1.0 billion) as assistance to sports clubs, about SR 4.6 billion (U.S. $ 1.2 billion) for public transportation, and SR 66.6 billion (U.S. $ 17.8 billion) in subsidies specifically for wheat and barley.
Dr. Attar pointed out that the performance of the Saudi economy has improved remarkably to a rate of 8.6 percent in 1996, with the growth rate of the oil sector increasing from 6 percent in 1995 to 17 percent in 1996, and that of the private sector rising from 2.5 percent in 1995 to 3.5 percent in 1996. The balance of payments attained a growth rate of 18.5 percent in 1996, due to the growth of exported oil by 7.2 percent, and of non-oil exports by 2.7 percent.
Dr. Attar concluded by remarking that in addition to the development accomplished within the country, the Kingdom has steadfastly continued to shoulder its Islamic and humanitarian responsibilities.