The new, younger Saudi regime lead by 30-year-old Prince Mohammed and the economy minister Adel Fakeih, continue to make big changes in the world’s largest oil exporting country. The mandate of the new Saudi government is to essentially overhaul one of the world’s most generous welfare systems through measures that were unthinkable a decade ago. Notably, the Saudi ministry has gone on a hiring spree as of late, wooing current and former employees of Deutsche Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi and National Commercial Bank as advisers. By plucking officials from private companies, the Saudi government is implicitly acknowledging that the old ways of doing things is not good enough. To combat the global oil crash, which has significantly reduced government coffers, the Saudi ministry plans to increase foreign investment, privatize government assets, improve accountability and introduce new sources of revenue (including a value-added tax). It would seem that with a transitional program in place, Saudi Arabia is finally embracing change. Interestingly, as bad as the oil crash has been for so many countries (including Saudi Arabia), it would seem that the new Saudi government has the vision and political will to create real positive change. A transformation where anybody in Saudi Arabia can grow a business and generate strong revenue on the basis of their real output, rather than the ability of the company to get a slice of the government pie.
A Canadian Energy expert