SAUDI ARABIA PREPARING ITSELF FOR POST-OIL ERA




Hassam Hameed-TDO-07.11.2017- Saudi Arabia purged the upper ranks on Sunday, stating to seize the assets of the 11 princes, 4 ministers, a dozen ex ministers and of senior government officials. Among them is Prince AlWaleed, the business tycoon. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman(MBS) is exerting his power, soon after King Salman decreed on late Saturday the establishment of anti-corruption committee. MBS is the de facto ruler of state and controls the levers of economy, defence etc. MBS plans to modernize Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and is setting a precedent, where corruption or abuse of authority would not be tolerated. Start was from top ranks. 

KSA has announced $500 billion to build a business and industrial zone, that would link with Egypt and Jordan($500 billion is roughly equal to the combined GDP of Bangladesh and Pakistan, to give you an idea of the amount of money that would be spent). It's the biggest effort to remove the Kingdom’s dependence on oil, as it struggled recently with lower oil prices. This zone is known as NEOM. This zone will focus on renewable energy, food, advanced manufacturing, entertainment etc. Official of KSA hope to sell 5% share of oil giant Saudi Aramco along with other privatizations, which will raise up to $300 billion. NEOM is expected to be powered by Solar energy and wind power.

This zone will have its own labor and tax laws. The judiciary will also be autonomous, which is expected to face political criticism within KSA.

The red tape of Saudi Arabia, and abuse of authority by higher ranking officials is seen as a hurdle by foreign investors. That is where a drastic change was observed over the weekend, where certain top officials were detained for accusations like bribery, money laundering and abuse of the office held for personal benefits. A strong and a precise message has been conveyed by people in authority, that the Kingdom is serious with the ‘Vision of 2030’.