Saudi postal system privatization in the offing

Saudi Arabia will soon have a holding company tasked with privatization of the country’s postal system

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Saudi Arabia will soon have a holding company tasked with privatization of the country’s postal system, Dr. Mohammed Al-Suwailem, minister of communications and information technology, said in Jeddah on Thursday evening.

Al-Suwailem was addressing the fourth day of press conferences on the salient features of the National Transformation Program 2020, along with Abdullatif Asheikh, minister of municipal and rural affairs; and Dr. Khalid Al-Qusaibi, minister of commerce and investment.

Al-Suwailem said during the last decade the country has attained a high-level communication system. But, he said, there were several obstacles like limited infrastructure, acquiring high-speed Internet and providing jobs to the citizens. He said at present there are only 25 percent Saudis in communications jobs, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The minister said university graduates need intensive training according to the market needs, hinting at the possible training for graduates with local and international companies.

Information technology, Al-Suwailem said, contributes to 1.2 percent of the Gross National Product.

He said many of the government organizations have been degitalized. “There are still gaps that need to be filled,” he said.

He also said that Riyadh is the third city in the Islamic world that produces mobile applications, something that should be used for local production.

Al-Suwailem said his ministry’s goal was to increase Internet services and promote e-commerce with the help of the international and local private sector.

Minister of Commerce and Investment Al-Qusaibi said there should be a strong infrastructure for consumer’s rights, stimulus that protects traders and elements that attract investors.

“Saudi Arabia, with its distinguished geographical location, must leave its mark in the world,” he said.

He explained that the post-oil phase requires new job opportunities and investments.

Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Abdullatif Asheikh said his ministry was trying to promote the municipal work to international levels.

He talked about the many challenges facing the municipal sector; the biggest being the expansion of cities. He disclosed that the Saudi cities are expanding phenomenally. “The number of Saudi cities is 285 which means 285 principalities and municipalities,” he said adding that the ministry’s main goal was to improve urban planning, build and maintain public facilities and infrastructure, and provide quick and highly efficient municipal services.

This article has first been published by the Saudi Gazette on June 11, 2016.