Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques gives directives during cabinet session to quickly implement royal orders

Royal orders up to 350 billion riyals in costs

Offered job opportunities to eliminate fraud and adjust prices

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired the Cabinet session held at Al-Yamamah Palace.

At the outset of the session, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his thanks and appreciation to the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their sincere feelings towards his royal address and the royal orders he issued last Friday which aim at achieving better welfare for the citizens and supporting the civil and military state institutions.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques directed the concerned ministers and officials to implement those orders immediately.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) following the session, the Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohieddin Khoja said the Cabinet expressed appreciation and sincere thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the speech he addressed to the citizens as well as the royal orders that paid attention to achieving prosperity and welfare for the citizens in addition to supporting state institutions and sectors. The Cabinet also said that these royal orders reflect appreciation of the citizens' role in building their homeland and contributing actively to the construction of its landmarks.

Then, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques briefed the Cabinet on the contacts, messages and consultations that took place during the last week with a number of leaders of brotherly and friendly countries on the bilateral relations and the developments at regional and international arenas, including the messages he sent to President Umar Hassan Al-Bashir of the Sudan, President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria and President Hu Jintao of China; in addition to the telephone calls he received from King Juan Carlos of Spain, President Barack Obama of the United States and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.

The Minister of Culture and Information said the Cabinet listened to a number of reports on the developments at Arab, regional and international arenas, following with great concern these developments and their consequences on a number of brotherly Arab countries. While reiterating the Kingdom's firm stances towards these, the Cabinet emphasized the importance of maintaining the safety and security of citizens when dealing with such events in a way that assures security, stability and territorial integrity of the brotherly countries.

On internal affairs, the Cabinet lauded the holding of several scientific, cultural and economic forums in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the past few days, including the 6th Prince Sultan International Award for Memorization of the Holy Quran for Military Men; the 11th Jeddah Economic Forum held under the theme of '21st Century Transformation'; and the International Exhibition and Forum for Public Education.

Dr. Khoja said the Cabinet then reviewed a number of issues on its agenda and issued the following decisions:

The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding dealing with bilateral political consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark, signed in Copenhagen on 15/02/2010.

The Cabinet approved the Kingdom's accession to the Convention on Temporary Admission (Istanbul Convention).

The Cabinet approved the final accounts of the General Organization for Railways for the fiscal year (1430/1431H.).

The Cabinet approved a number of amendments to the Employee Discipline Law issued by the Royal Decree No. (M/7) dated 01/02/1391 H.

The Cabinet approved a number of appointments as follows:

1- Eng. Abdulrahman bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Salem appointed to the post of Director General of Water in Makkah Region (Rank 15) at the Ministry of Water and Electricity.

2- Abdullah bin Sulaiman bin Mohammed Al-Issa appointed to the post of Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3- Ghannam bin Saleh bin Ghannam Al-Ghannam appointed to the post of Director General of Batha Customs (Rank 14) at the Customs Authority.

4- Omar bin Ahmad bin Abdulmohsen Al-Omar appointed to the post of Administrative Consultant (Rank 14) at the Supreme Council of Magistracy.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah has sent a message to President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China.

The message dealt with ways of enhancing relations between the two countries in all fields.

During a meeting held this week, the message was handed over to President Jintao by Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the Secretary General of National Security Council.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Secretary General of National Security Council, met Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, the Foreign Minister expressed his country's support for the efforts exerted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States to preserve security and stability in the region.

For his part, Prince Bandar bin Sultan expressed thanks and appreciation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the fair stances and important role of China in preserving stability in the region.

Meanwhile, Prince Bandar bin Sultan met Chinese State Councilor Dai Binguo.

King Abdullah had instructed that Saturday would be an official holiday all over the Kingdom.

'To mark the interaction with the national happy responses of the people of the Kingdom and the participation of their jubilance expressing their devotion to their religion and the unity of their homeland, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud instructed that the order be carried out accordingly on Saturday 14/04/1432 H corresponding to 19/03/2011 G an official holiday for all sectors of the State, all stages of education including higher education', the Royal Court said in a statement released last week.

King Abdullah ordered sweeping increases in spending, including $67 billion on housing and funds for the military and religious groups that backed the government’s ban on domestic protests.

The new package, which follows a $36 billion handout announced on Feb. 23, will probably help prevent unrest from gathering pace in the kingdom, analysts said. A call for a March 11 demonstration in the kingdom failed to materialize after the government deployed troops at designated assembly points for the rally and senior clerics denounced protests as un-Islamic.

The new spending plans may cost the government as much as 350 billion riyals ($93 billion), according to John Sfakianakis Riyadh-based chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi. That’s equivalent to just under a quarter of Saudi gross domestic product. The new measures supplement previous announced spending plans, Sfakianakis said.

The package was announced in a royal decree read on state television. Saudi Arabia needs to create 5 million jobs for nationals by 2030, Labor Minister Adel Faqih said in January.

The unemployment rate is as high as 43 percent for Saudis between the ages of 20 and 24.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp.’s bonds rose, pushing the yield to the lowest in almost a month, after the spending measures were announced. Sabic’s $1.5 billion of 9.5 percent notes due August 2015 rose to 105.8 percent of face value, pushing their yield to 7.9 percent, the lowest since Feb. 21, prices on Bloomberg show.

Bonds of the state-owned petrochemicals maker are used as a proxy for the government, which has no outstanding debt.

The government in August announced a $385 billion, five-year spending plan to help tackle joblessness and stop young men from turning to more radical Islam.

The king had ordered the construction of 500,000 houses for Saudis at a cost of 250 billion riyals, and raised the value of mortgages provided to nationals by the country’s Real Estate Development Fund to 500,000 riyals from 300,000 riyals. The government fund provides interest-free loans to citizens across the kingdom.

King Abdullah also allocated 1.2 billion riyals to be spent on mosques and in support of clerical institutions including the religious police, or Mutawa’a, who enforce the austere strain of Islam the kingdom follows. The decree also ordered the media not to criticize the religious establishment.

The king boosted the internal security forces by 60,000 and ordered promotions in the military. He also decreed the creation of an anti-corruption agency, added 500 jobs to the Ministry of Trade to monitor prices and allocated 16 billion riyals to the building and expansion of hospitals and medical centers.

He granted all government employees two months of their salaries and students a two-month payment. The king also set a minimum wage of 3,000 riyals a month for all Saudis.

In Riyadh, the Secretary-General of Health Services Council, Dr. Yaaqub Bin Yousuf Al-Mazroua' has lauded the national address and royal decrees of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz, which he said reflected the depth of cohesion between the people and leadership and the King's love and affection for his people.

'The Royal decrees also demonstrate how deeply the King is touched and aware of the Saudi citizens' needs. They also show the King is sincerely working to provide decent livelihood to them and ensure their prosperity, stability and a life of comfort', he said.

He praised the King's support to the Ministry of Health's budget with an allocation of SR 16 billion to implement a number of medical cities and hospitals in different regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and singled out his strategic decision that can be termed as an absolute humanitarian gesture in preserving health and safety of the people. 'The royal decree in this context will facilitate health care and provide access to medical services around the Kingdom.'