Minister of Industry and Electricity Dr. Hashim Ibn Abdullah Yamani opened here today the first working session of the two-day seminar on the foodstuffs industry sector organized by the Ministry in coordination with the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry. In an address on the occasion, Acting Under-Secretary for Industrial Affairs Osama Abu Gharara remarked that the Kingdom’s industrial sector has realized an optimal level of growth and development in a short period of time, in the light of the unlimited support extended to it by Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Crown Prince and the Second Deputy Prime Minister. He said there were 419 factories in the foodstuffs sector, representing 16 percent of the total number of operational factories, and with a capital investment of SR 16.26 billion (U.S. $ 4.34 billion), by the end of the year 1418 H (April 1998). He went on to say that the Ministry’s goal is to realize standardized quality of products and lower production costs, highlighting the importance of marketing, dependence on Saudi manpower, and determination of consumer needs.
Dr. Yamani said this meeting comes as part of a series promoted by the Ministry to enhance the level of production of national industries in the foodstuffs sector as well as to review obstacles facing the development of this sector. He also referred to upcoming changes, such as the Kingdom’s application to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will grant it a suitable place in the globalization process. Dr. Yamani praised the quality of the foodstuffs produced by the Kingdom's industries, which also compete in terms of price. He reported that exports of Saudi foodstuffs were worth SR 3 billion (U.S. $ 0.8 billion) a year, with an average growth rate of one per cent.