By: Dr. Rajaa showkat
Dr. Abdullah Ahmad Al-Magluth is a prominent Saudi businessman, economic analyst, member of the Saudi Economic Association, and well-known social figure.
Leaders MENA magazine met him recently in an interview about the economic reality, its humanity, and its challenges while looking forward to the foreseeable future.
It is the post-oil plan announced by the Kingdom to reach zero neutrality by 2060.
We are surviving the sixth year of the Kingdom’s plan and Vision 2030. Tell us about the most important achievements of the vision so far?
One of the most important achievements of the vision is the increase in the absorptive capacity of the number of pilgrims, by zooming in on the services system of the Two Holy Mosques and the holy sites and completing the process for obtaining an Umrah visa within 5 minutes, while it previously took 14 days.
As well as providing an electronic tourist visa, which can be obtained electronically in minutes.
Over the past five years, the vision has contributed to improving the quality of life by attracting and organizing many events and events. More than 2,000 sports, cultural and voluntary activities have been launched, with the attendance of more than 46 million visitors, with the number of companies working in the field of entertainment doubled to reach more than 1,000 companies, which contributed to providing 101,000 jobs, as well as building seven nature reserves to be a living genetic reservoir.
The Kingdom was also at the forefront of global production in the desalination of saline water, with the strongest production capacity, which amounted to 5.9 million m3 per day.
The replacement of thermal technologies and the expansion of the use of environmentally friendly technologies also helped in achieving a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
As a great development took place in the financial sector with the joining of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) to the two emerging market indices (standard&poors Dow jones and (MSCI), which provided investment opportunities for foreign investors inside the Kingdom, where the value of their ownership in the market increased by 195.9% until it reached SAR 208.3 billion by the end of 2020 with a percentage of ownership it amounted to 12.8 of the total value of shares.
You wrote about (Qiwi), praising the platform launched by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in 2019 which contributes to digital transformation, technical solutions, organizing the labor market, empowering women, increasing their participation in the workforce … To what extent can this platform enhance the values of transparency, improve the contractual relationship between the employee and the employer, and reduce conflicts?
Certainly, it includes raising the level of awareness and transparency among the establishments, and it has brought about a qualitative transformation in all the operations that are being accomplished.
You mentioned to (Sputnik) that the Trojena project is a (distinguished engineering invention) that has no analogs in the world in which the nature of the Neom mountains is homogeneous with the new tourist destinations?
The project will provide more than 10,000 job opportunities and add 3 billion riyals to the GDP by 2030. The project works to provide a unique tourism model that combines economic and community development with environmental sustainability.
You told (Okaz) in February 2021, that (the Kingdom established the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises to support entrepreneurs and provide easy financing and more international partnerships to exploit the benefits of digital technology and social networks)?
Yes, the authority contributed to enhancing the competitive capabilities of enterprises, as stated in its report that it provided financing loans worth SAR 11 billion through the partners of the (Finance Gateway) platform, and loans increased in 2021 by 884% compared to 2020. While the total loans provided within the indirect lending initiative amounted to SAR 2.5 billion, the total financing guarantees issued by the (Kafala) program amounted to SAR 67.7 billion.
In addition to funding emerging companies, technology companies obtained the highest percentage of 73% of the funding allocated to emerging companies.
To confront the Corona pandemic, the Kingdom confirmed its ability to overcome the effects of the pandemic, which caused economic disasters in the world, and it started to Al-Bilad newspaper in May 2020 (that the Kingdom dealt wisely with the crisis, as it did not reduce bonuses or salaries for employees, did not raise fuel prices and did not impose an income tax, and thus did not affect the course of Development)
Now, Do you think that such decisions badly affected the Kingdom’s vision of 2030?
Thank God, that all the economic initiatives and packages that have been taken will not affect the Saudi economy in the long run.
Export-Import Bank following Vision 2030, which aims to raise the percentage of non-oil exports from 16% to 50%. What do you expect of the bank’s contribution to stimulating the growth of non-oil exports, enhancing the national product, and raising its competitiveness, thus contributing to the realization of the vision?
The bank’s approved financing requests amounted to 89, with a total value of more than 8.95 billion. The bank launched 9 financing and insurance products that suit the needs of exporters, while the bank’s products contributed to increasing the number of exporting countries to about 50 countries, led by China and India.
As for the most prominent sectors that benefited from the bank’s products, food products 42%, then iron and steel 10.5%. Thus, it is a contributor to boosting the economy.
The Kingdom aims to reach zero neutrality by 2060. How do you see the process of implementing the vision as it enters its sixth year? What do you see on the foreseeable horizon to anticipate the economic future of the Kingdom?
I see doubling and steady growth in all sectors, a qualitative leap in the level of quality of life, and continuous development.