2nd Term 2nd Year, 1419 - 1420 A.H.
The Royal speech of the King of Saudi Arabia:
It is our pleasure to meet at the Shura National Council again on this blessed day when it begins the second year of its second session five years after its reconstruction. Although young in age, our Council is quite mature when looked at in terms of the achievements by those members who fulfilled their missions and knew their responsibilities well.
Since establishment, this county adopted the principle of consultation in theory and practice. The second article of the Council’s law states that the Shura Council is based upon adherence to the sources of Islamic legislation. Its members are careful to serve the public benefit and maintain the unity of people, the structure of the state, and the benefits of the nation.
It is the policy of approachability, applying justice ,and giving everybody equal chances that bolstered the connection between the government and the people. This is seen in the second article of statute as follows:
Ruling in Saudi Arabia is based upon justice, consultation and equality in accordance with Islamic Sharia'h”
In the modern history of the kingdom, more specifically on 9/1/1346 A.H, the late King Abdul Aziz established Shura Council 72 years ago in line with principles of Islamic legitimacy that are based on the Holy Quran and the sayings of prophet. The Shura Council that time had a role in issuing a lot of rules that are related to development of administration, security, judiciary and society, etc.
Along with positive steps that the country has taken in all fields and dimensions of development, a new law for the Shura Council, deriving its methodology from instructions of pliable legitimacy should have been issued so that it convoys with latest developments.
Out of our care to sustain the great achievements by the Council in its first session, we have modified the third article of the Council’s law in increasing its members to 90 since there is the need for different specializations and various expertise of its members.
Successive achievements of the Council in considering regulations, draft laws and agreements, and its accomplishments within its authorities, as well as advice and recommendations it showed, have altogether set the base to take decisions that were beneficial for the nation and citizens. It has always confirmed that consultation is one of the basic matters in the history of this country.
Now we have reached the moment when we show our satisfaction over the accomplishments of the Council. Praising the efforts of its members, we would like to assure you of our intention to support its course and reinforce its targets since all of us have great tasks and responsibilities and we wish you success in all the missions you are charged with.
This country that existed more than 250 years ago, and got united more than 70 years ago, adopted the Holy Quran and the way of Prophet Mohammad as a basis for ruling and administration. We would remain abiding by the principle of Islamic belief because we know it will maintain our glory and victory.
Arising from the religious responsibility of the Kingdom, we have run a big extension to the two holy mosques and holy places and have equipped them with best means so that pilgrims and performers of rites of Umra find comfort and ease in performing their due rituals.
If this yearly meeting is mainly targeted to preview the internal and external policy and highlighting the updates and latest developments, it should be at the same time an occasion to consider the great prudence of our pliable belief to adopt the principle of consultation in ruling.
As result of the concern of the state to continue the course of development in all fields, and by virtue of the balanced policy it adopts, it could overcome many difficulties that arouse from conflicts that took place in the recent past years. Due to its prudent policy, the Kingdom could avoid the county the destiny of economical and social collapses that many countries suffered because of their internal and external combats. Despite the slowness in the ratio of development due to some regional and international circumstances, and due to fluctuation of oil prices, the wheel of development has not stopped. The country went on executing its ambitious programs and projects in all fields.
Security-wise, the state was concerned with ensuring security to citizens, residents, expatriates, and pilgrims. In order to keep this security and maintain the achievements of the state, the state has been seeking to develop all sectors of its armed forces to defend the country against any offense.
In the field of nutritional security:
The government has supported agricultural projects and various classes and products of farmers. The wheat crop, which is considered a strategic product, was increased from 26 thousand tons in 1390 A.H. to more than 4 million tons in 1412 A.H. That’s to say the Kingdom is not only meeting its complete need of wheat; it exceeds it.
The big increase in wheat production was accompanied by continuous increase in producing vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy products during that period.
Big loans of agricultural bank contributed in pushing forward the course of agricultural development. Loans got bigger and the average annual growth rate of the value of loans has increased into more than 13% in the past 25 years.
In the field of desalination, the government expanded capacities of desalination stations to satisfy the growing needs of the population, and to fulfill the demand on water for various consumption purposes. Capacities of desalination stations in the Kingdom were increased from 406 million gallons per day in 1390 A.H (the beginning of first fifth-years plan) to 410 million gallon per day in 1417/1418 A.H.
In the field of industry, capitals invested in manufacture industry in public and private sectors were increased. They grew from about 2787 billion Riyals in 1390 A.H. to about 164.675 billion Riyals. Factories grew in number, too, during that period from 199 factories to 2538 factories.
The Production of chemical fertilizers has increased in its annual average of %19 during that period. It risen from 24.4 thousand tons in 1390 A.H to more than 4.2 million tons in 1418 A.H.
Production of cement was increased too on an annual average of %3.15. It increased from 667 thousand tons to 15.5 million tons during that period
The total loans spent on industrial projects reached in 1359 A.H. 35 million Riyals and they increased to 20 billion riyals.
Along with big efforts by the state to achieve big rates in various development fields, and in addition to the capitals it spent in building facilities and basic groundwork or providing loans and subsidies to various individuals and foundations, new discoveries of crude oil reserves increased the amount of the reserve from 170 billion barrels in 1408 A.H up to 261 billion barrels in 1411 A.H. In general, the fixed reserve of oil was double increased in 1411 A.H in comparison to what it was twenty years ago.
The production of natural gas along with the production of oil was increased too form 6.20 billion m3 in 1390 A.H to about 50.6 billion m3 in 1399 A.H. It was decreased in the next years till it reached 3.37 billion m3 in 1410 due to the decrease in oil production.
It is worth mentioning that only 11% of natural gas was actively used in 1390 A.H. However, since 1404 A.H. the produced amounts of gas were almost totally used. The percentage of used gas that was produced in 1409 A.H reached 94%. Before that it was either burnt or highly infused again in the ground during past years.
Besides oil and gas, the Kingdom has a considerable mineral wealth, especially in the region of The Arabic Shield "Aldera Alarabi". There are raw minerals of gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, iron, bauxite, rare raw minerals, uranium, industrial minerals, phosphate, magnesium, carbon, as well as raw materials for construction industry. These minerals would be a growing credit that would benefit the country.
In the field of electricity, the government was careful to enhance the condition of companies by merging accredited companies into united big ones in a way that could benefit the plentiful big size in reducing the production cost and make the electric current available for all citizens in cities and villages to benefit from it for household, agricultural and industrial purposes.
The sector of electricity witnessed an extraordinary growth. Growth continued throughout the successive fifth-year plans. Compound electricity capacity was increased from 418 mega watt in 1390 A.H. to 23204 mega watt in 1418 A.H with an average annual growth rate of more than %16.5
Due to the significance of telephonic services in the performance and development of economy along with the rise in technical and civilized advancement, expanding telephonic services was one of the important goals that the state sought to achieve through successive development plans. Active working phone lines in the kingdom were increased from 29.400 phones in 1390 A.H. to about 1.9 million phones.
In the field of roads, paved roads network that is characterized by high safety and security was highly expanded. Roads that were 8 thousand km long in 1390 A.H reached more than 44.100 thousand km in 1418 A.H. so that all cities and most villages of the Kingdom are now connected by an at least 2-way paved roads network.
In the field of housing, citizens enjoyed modern comfortable houses where all facilities and services are available. The number of houses built by citizens with the help of real estate fund or built by ministry of public works and housing, or even by other governmental bodies reached more than 800.000 houses during the last 2 decades.
The total loans by public loaning foundations has reached 273 billion riyals since it was established till the end of 1417/1418 A.H.
115.1 billion riyals were provided by the real estate fund, 29.7 billion were by Saudi Agricultural bank, 56.7 billion were provided by investment fund, 61.6 billion riyal were provide by Saudi industrial development fund and 4.2 billion riyals were provided by other foundations.
The state has not spared an effort to offer governmental subsidies to citizens either directly or indirectly as it desires to raise the living standard and building facilities and services. Some subsidies were offered to farmers, others to local production of wheat, malt and social security, some were given to facilities of electricity, as well as payments to other bodies that have relation with social care, youth clubs and collective transport. These subsidies were the highest in 1405 A.H. where they exceeded 12 billion riyals.
Subsidies for social security were steadily and regularly increased as the state aims through them to combat poverty and immune every house against it. Subsidies proportioned for the year 1417/1418 A.H reached (40.3) billion Riyals.
Similarly, the ministry of labor and social affairs offers all kinds of care and habilitation for families and persons in need of these services due to health or social problems. It offers services to kids of special needs, paralytic kids, disabled, orphans as well as aged people. It also works toward keeping familial ties, protecting kids, and stressing the positive role of women who highly contributed in developments processes.
Because the state believes that development has various dimensions and because of the great significance of social and human development, the state was highly interested in foundations of education, culture, health and society. Education was persistently expanded since the first launch of development. Schools and faculties for both males and females grew from 3283 in 1390 A.H. to 22301 in 1417/1418 A.H: it multiplied about 7 times.
During that period, the number of schools built for females was more than those built for males. The rate of growth in the number of schools built for females reached %12.4 a year while it was %5.3 a year for those for males. The number of male and female students in all stages of public as well as high education grew from 547 thousand students in 1390 A.H. to more than 4.5 million students in 1418/1419 A.H. i.e. it multipliesd8 times during that period.
The number of students enrolled in schools and institute of vocational education was increased from 840 students in 1390 A.H. to about 28420 students in 1418/1419 A.H.
The General Administration of Youth Care Institution works on ensuring all kinds of sport facilities such as games courts, camps for youths, public squares and fully equipped clubs. It also organizes contests in literature, poetry and arts. Subsidies offered to clubs during the past two decades reached 3600 million riyals.
In order that the regional development goes hand in hand with sectoral development, the state showed much interest in municipal projects.
The significance of the sector of municipalities is shown throughout the urban and countryside development that included all regions in the Kingdom. That development was manifested in providing lands for citizens for free, completing basic installations, municipal services, constructional planning in cities and villages and projects of enhancement and remodeling, not to mention the contribution of this sector in the program of water and drainage, in protecting the public health and environment and in improving the living standards of citizens in the Kingdom.
Concerning health installations in the Kingdom, public and private hospitals increased from 74 hospitals to 285 hospitals during the period from 1390A.H. till 1415 A.H. the number of clinics increased from 591 centers to 3300 centers during the same period. Similarly the number of doctors in the Kingdom increased from 1172 doctors to 30306 doctors at an annual average rate of %14.6.
All the above mentioned achievements are just part of the huge projects as it would take so much time to talk about accomplishments of other governmental bodies such as administration of National Guard, Ministry of Defense and Aviation, Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Awqaf, and Guidance, Ministry of Higher Education, General Administration of Girls Education, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of National Finance and Economy, Ministry of Information, and other governmental bodies.
We express our thanks and acknowledgement to persons in charge in these governmental bodies for their fruitful efforts and their honest intentions and strong will, which resulted in prosperous results for all citizens and expatriates.
Needless to say that these achievements represent the product of interaction and cooperation between faithful national efforts in every accountable position whether in public or private sector, which is waiting to participate more in the process of development.
On this occasion I don’t forget to praise the serious course of the regions’ councils as well as the venerable benefits that those councils realized. First is the active participation of prominent people of each region to express the ambitions and hopes of their region, to discuss the affairs of their country and countryside and to tackle their problems, and to sit with liable persons in one council to confer and debate about how to develop their region: thus they assisted the state in asking for their needs.
The regions’ councils are additional channels of contact, participation and of conveying ideas and notes of citizens for the sake of achieving public benefit. No need to mention again our intention to support the course of this Council and all regions’ councils to fulfill their missions to serve our cherished nation.
We are pleased with the gradual and steady attainment of the integration in security and economy and with the coordination in political, social and cultural matters by Gulf States council.
We are at ease that the course of cooperation between the Gulf States has been on the right path since it started.
Since it was established by King Abdul Aziz –may Allah have mercy upon him- Saudi Arabia has always been a secure country that cherishes peace and calls for it, and that sustains Arabs and Moslems in solving their problems and spreading safety and stability in their countries. We would continue our policy that is based upon consolidating connections with other countries especially Arabic and Islamic countries and that is based on defending issues of right and justice to achieve a global peace.
The policy we are adopting is based upon solidarity with brothers, cooperation with friends, and on contributing in every way to benefit our relations with brotherly and friendly countries and with the international society, too.
And on the subject of global peace, we support every step leading to it: we look forward to establishing national Palestinian ruling and liberating holy Jerusalem. Since the reign of King Abdul Aziz – may Allah have mercy upon him- the Saudi attitude towards the Palestinian issue has been based upon giving the Palestinian people the freedom of choice. Thus we accept what the Palestinians accept and reject what they reject. Previewing other worries of our Islamic nation, we share our Muslim brothers these worries everywhere, especially our brothers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, and Somalia for whom we did our best to help in their ordeal. We are so sorry that the efforts to achieve global peace have been stopped whether in giving back all legitimate Palestinian rights including Jerusalem, in solving the Palestinian issue, or in liberating Golan and Southern Lebanon . We ask all peace-supporting countries and organization to stand by the Arabs in their desire to achieve just and global peace that puts an end to the ordeal of the people of Palestine by establishing their state upon their extorted lands. At the same time we totally confirm the honest desire to have peace all around the region as represented in conferences of the Arab league, in organization of Islamic Conference and in the Council of Cooperation.
We express our deep sorrow for the internal conflict in Afghanistan and Somalia; conflicts between one family members only bring destruction, hatful revenges and gloating of enemies.
We still confirm so impartially that the Kingdom puts all its capabilities to help these two brotherly countries escape this ordeal if they really intend and desire to reject violence and recourse to peace and concord instead. We frequently confirmed our readiness to sponsor any active desire for compromise, unity, peace and rejecting disarray.
In this position, we stress that Saudi Arabia supports, as per its popular and fixed policy, all efforts of the Cooperation Council of Gulf States, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the United Nations in executing international decisions that aim at rejecting terrorism, serving peace and justice and achieving security, well being and stability to all humanity.
I would like to remind you that consultation in Islam is to be only given by those with honesty in utterance and action, with prudence in opinion and insight.
Upon these bases, you have been chosen due to your exceptional qualifications and various experiences and due to your loyalty and honesty.
Your mission is sublime and your responsibility is great. You are willingly eligible to undertake them. In the end I want to express my pleasure today to commence the works of the second year of the Shura Council session.
End of Speech