King Salman’s reign sees largest structural reforms in history of Saudi Arabia

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Since the start of King Salman’s reign in 2015, Saudi Arabia’s government has undergone a series of structural reforms aimed at achieving ambitious development aspirations in the kingdom.

King Salman on Saturday replaced the country's labor, Islamic affairs and culture ministers.

The kingdom also announced it had set up a royal commission for the holy city of Mecca and set up a new Ministry of Culture, extracting it from the information ministry.

King Salman also ordered the formation of royal commissions for the environment and the holy city of Mecca, and an administration for preserving historical areas in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

The royal orders named several new deputies in the ministries of interior, telecommunications, transport and energy, industry and minerals, and appointed new heads to the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu and the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy.

The series of royal decrees is the latest in several issued by King Salman over the past three years.

Analysts speaking to Al Arabiya say the Saudi administrative reform aims at freeing state institutions from the bureaucracy that impedes their effectiveness and performance, stressing that structural reform is a continuous process to achieve efficiency,.

The recent appointments have also shown that the private sector is involved in many aspects of government institutions, as seen in the appointment of private sector businessman Ahmed bin Suleiman al-Rajhi, who was named minister of labor and social development, succeeding Ali bin Nasser al-Ghafis

“Government institutions can benefit from private sector expertise and achieve inter-sectoral cooperation as one of the pillars of the kingdom’s ambitious goals,” a Riyadh-based analyst told Al Arabiya.

According to government insiders, 90 percent of the ministries did not have undersecretaries. The new reforms are believed to now pave the way for the appointment of undersecretaries of a high caliber, qualified to assume future leadership positions in the state.

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