Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz today received the newly-elected Board of Directors of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led by its chairman Ismail Abu Daoud, and urged the private sector to proceed with the policy of improving the level of economic productivity, replacing non-Saudi employees and laborers with skilled Saudi youth, creating new job opportunities for Saudi nationals, diversifying the productive base of the economy, and contributing to the financing of development projects.
Addressing the meeting, the King spoke about cooperation between the public and private sectors, and emphasized the role the private sector can play in realizing the declared objectives of the Kingdom's development, and how this is one of the bases of the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan. He remarked that the Saudi private sector has not met with the obstacles experienced in other countries, thanks to the state's total compliance with the directions of God and His Prophet, and with Shari'ah, which stipulates freedom of economic activity for individuals on the one hand and on the other, the adherence of government to an open market policy. In this regard, the King declared the Saudi economy strong enough not to fear any foreign danger, saying: "The Saudi market is open for foreign investments from different countries and is able to accommodate all of them, while the Saudi government is obliged to provide all kinds of facilities and guarantees which will enable these investments to do business according to correct principles. ..... There are several factors that indicate the continuation of sustaining development of the private sector, a matter which calls for optimism that it will become a fundamental stimulus of development in the foreseeable future of the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
King Fahd went on to state that the government: "attaches great importance to continuous dialogue with the private sector and will continue this policy." He then referred to the assistance which has been and is still being extended by the government to the industrial and commercial sectors, including soft loans, plots of land for building factories, and the establishment of industrial cities. Moreover, the government has adopted a policy of privatization, now that it has completed the establishment of the country's advanced infrastructure. King Fahd declared that the government would proceed with its policy of giving incentives to the private sector through customs and tax exemptions, enhancement of national industry and provision of soft financing, and reiterated his call for the private sector to further open doors for Saudi youths to enter business for the benefit of the citizens and the country.
For his part, Chairman Abu Daoud thanked the King for his periodical receptions to discuss matters related to the advance of the private sector in the Kingdom. He reiterated the appreciation of the members of the Chamber of Commerce and paid tribute to his continuing care and interest in the development of the Saudi private sector.