Chairs of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 Realization Program Committees have held a dialogue session entitled "Vision 2030 Creates Future Opportunities" in Riyadh.
The session aims to discuss the Vision's journey over the past five years and upcoming achievements and challenges, and features of the next phase.
The participants in the session included the Minister of Health, Chairman of the Health Sector Transformation Program, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah; the Minister of Tourism, Chairman of the Quality of Life Program, Ahmed bin Aqil Al-Khatib; the Minister of Finance, Acting Minister of Economy and Planning, Chairman of the Financial Sector Development Program, the Privatization Program, and the Fiscal Sustainability Program, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan; Advisor at the Royal Court, Chairman of the National Transformation Program, Mohammed bin Mazyad Al-Tuwaijri, and was moderated by journalist Khalid Al-Sulaiman.
At the outset of the session, a documentary film was shown reviewing the Kingdom's Vision 2030 plans and objectives within five years, which target all economic fields, quality of life, development of the tourism sector, and others.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, confirmed that the support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the close follow-up from HRH the Crown Prince contributed to the achievements made during the past five years within the Kingdom's Vision 2030.
He further said, "Also, a few days ago, HRH the Crown Prince spoke about the accomplishments that have been achieved, and at the beginning of the Vision, HRH said that we are not talking about a dream but about a reality that will come true. We see the reality, and we see the accomplishments that have been achieved during a record time."
Dr. Al-Rabiah indicated that the developments in the health sector had contributed significantly to dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic with high and distinct effectiveness in all walks of life.
About the achievements made in the health sector, the Minister said, "In 2015, People used to struggle to book an appointment, but now any citizen can book an appointment via Mawid and Sehhaty applications. Then, the citizen can go to the appointment within three or four times days. We launched this service two and a half years ago; more than 76 million appointments have been booked so far, with nearly 150,000 daily appointments."
The Minister of Health indicated that many services are provided remotely, including the 937 call center service, in which the number of daily calls reaches more than 140,000. He pointed out that the services offered include remote medical consultations from a specialist and obtaining a prescription.
Dr. Al-Rabiah further added, "Every day, about 200,000 people book an appointment for the vaccination service, and see the results and certificate of vaccinations through Sehhaty app. Furthermore, electronic prescriptions launched about two and a half years ago; so far, approximately 12,500,000 prescriptions were dispensed. Every day, almost 30,000 prescriptions are dispensed from some commercial pharmacies. He indicated that the services of the heart centers have so far reached 30 centers in the Kingdom, in addition to cardiac catheter centers.
Dr. Al-Rabiah stated that the Health Sector Transformation Program, which was approved at the end of 2019, seeks to develop health services and transform sectors as one of the program's pillars.
He added that the program targets all health services, in all government and private sectors, in addition to all bodies within the health services system such as the Saudi Food and Drug Authority; Saudi Commission For Health Specialties; Saudi Red Crescent Authority, and other sectors under the health sector system. He indicated that the program aims to restructure the health system so that services are easily and efficiently available to enhance disease prevention.
For his part, the Minister of Tourism, Chairman of the Quality of Life Program, Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khatib, affirmed that HRH the Crown Prince indicated the importance of launching a program concerned with the Kingdom's cities to be among the best cities to live in globally. Therefore, we studied several aspects of concern for life between the best-lived global cities and the various cities of the Kingdom. Also, the infrastructure was studied to be good, and the multiple services of communication, the health and educational sector, and the lifestyle, and the program was named "Quality of Life."
He indicated that the program affiliates with 13 government agencies and its budget is more than SAR 60 billion and contains 130 projects. Many of these projects have been implemented, while the rest will be implemented at the end of the second phase.
He affirmed the importance of the work that has been done, including the work on the sports sector due to its great importance, as we hosted several international sporting events.
Al-Khatib stated that 11 cultural committees were established under the Ministry of Culture, as well as a growth fund for culture. In the field of tourism, four bodies worked, namely the Ministry of Tourism, the Saudi Commission for Tourism, the Tourism Development Fund, and the Tourism Development Board. More than 10,000 activities were implemented in entertainment that included more From 100 thousand jobs, more than 1000 small and medium companies working in the entertainment sector were founded.
Al-Khatib stated that 11 cultural bodies were established under the Ministry of Culture and a growth fund for the Ministry. In the field of tourism, four bodies worked hand-in-hand, namely the Ministry of Tourism, the Saudi Tourism Authority, the Tourism Development Fund, and the Tourism Development Council.
He added that More than 10,000 activities were implemented in the entertainment field that generated more than 100,000 jobs. More than 1000 small and medium companies working in the entertainment sector were founded.
Concerning the Tourist Visa Program that was launched before the pandemic and issued 450,000 visas, Al-Khatib indicated that these numbers confirm everyone's desire to discover the Kingdom in all its tourist areas and places.
He stressed that the Green Riyadh Project aims to improve the quality of life, cultural diversity, and other projects' environment. He pointed out that more than 500,000 hotel rooms and several different projects will be included to increase the supply within five years.
For his part, the Minister of Finance, Acting Minister of Economy and Planning, Chairman of each the Financial Sector Development Program, the Privatization Program, and the Fiscal Sustainability Program, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, talked about the most prominent structural reforms achieved by the economy due to the Vision, including the development of the financial sector.
He indicated that spending efficiency was able to save more than SAR400 billion of government spending during the past four years that was wasted on projects that can reduce spending on and increase their impact,
With regard to privatization, Minister Al-Jadaan explained that the financial allocation mechanism for all different sectors was reviewed, along with achieving the Vision. At the same time, all projects and operational spending were studied more carefully to reduce unnecessary spending.
In the financial market, he indicated that the Kingdom joined the international indicators, such as FUTC (Facilities under Control), which resulted in the entry of 400 percent of the additional investors and international founders, as well as the entry of an additional SAR150 billion into the market, and the entry of investors who can study investment opportunities and achieve balance in the market.
Over the past months, the debt market has been developed by increasing transactions in the market to more than 600 percent. The banking sector has witnessed huge jumps, including financial technology, of which we have seen its applications' positive effect during coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, enabling the private sector to participate in a more significant way in providing the services previously provided by the government and enabling the government to spend on more projects through the use of the private sector and its investments.
He affirmed that taxes are an essential part in non-oil world countries, indicating that the government's goal is to expand the economy to reduce the economic burden, whether in fees or taxes off the shoulders of the citizen or the private sector, indicating that expanding the economy increases revenues so that the government has the ability to reduce costs off the shoulders of the citizens and the private sector.
He referred to the initiative of the Public Investment Fund, which after 2030 will be an essential resource for public treasury resources to reduce the need for additional resources, whether through fees or otherwise.
Minister Al-Jadaan also stated that the levels of public debt to the gross domestic product (GDP) are in the range of 30 to 33 percent, which is a very reasonable percentage compared to its percentage in countries of G20 and similar countries to the Kingdom, indicating that the increasing percentage of debt constitutes a concern and a part of the decision-making system in determining the ceilings of the budget and the revenues of which we need, as well as a part of deciding privatization and its expanding to reduce the burden of the public financial system, stressing that it is should not be a cause for concern and there are still various sources such as debt, reserves and the tremendous revolution in the Public Investment Fund and the assets that are subject to privatization.
Moreover, the Minister of Finance said that there are policies, the most important of which is reducing the unemployment rate, increasing the purchasing power of citizens, and providing an environment that enables young men and women to start their work to support small and medium enterprises.
He added that this is a very important element not only to provide a business environment for citizens but a very high employment environment, during which a bank for small and medium enterprises was established in implementation of the order of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and under the directives of HRH the Crown Prince.
He also emphasized that the main focus of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 is the citizen through direct or indirect initiatives. He cited that the Ministry of Commerce and a part of the National Transformation Program launched the 9/10ths Initiative to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and young investors of citizens to carry out their business and actively participate in the economy to provide additional income for the citizens. He pointed out that the reason for issuing bonds in euros and their return is investor confidence.
For his part, the Chairman of the National Transformation Program Committee, Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said that the program is one of the oldest and largest programs and has a large share of the vision goals, equivalent to approximately one-third of the Vision's goals in the programs. He stated that ten ministries harmonize daily with specific goals, on top of which is the efficiency of government work to serve the citizen and empower the private sector and infrastructure.
Al-Tuwaijri indicated that the judicial services are part of the national transformation system, and said: "In the past it was necessary for the beneficiary to attend at official working times during the weekdays, while today 82% of the judicial services are automated, indicating that in the last five years the e-government jumped to nearly 35%, and 81% of the services provided electronically.
The Chairman of the National Transformation Program Committee praised the communications infrastructure, which is part of the program, as it has made enormous leaps in international indicators. Similarly, the Internet speed has doubled 12 times in the Kingdom, while the 5G is one of the most significant achievements, as coverage reached 60% in major cities and 45% in all Kingdom's cities.
On the empowerment of women, Al-Tuwaijri said that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development worked to empower women. In 2020, the goal was to reach 27.5% of their participation, and today we have reached 33%.
He praised the successes of national transformation in the traffic system, as accidents decreased by 51%, which is a result of the development of traffic regulations and policies launched in this field, stressing that the National Transformation Program is large and aims to serve the citizen, improve the environment and attract investment.