Saudi Arabia is trying to minimize the impact of plunging oil prices on its economy,
said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Tuesday while emphasizing his
government’s plan to develop a more diversified economy.
“The low prices witnessed by the oil market are having an effect on the Kingdom’s
income. However, we are working toward minimizing the impact on development," the king
said in his first major speech since acceding to the throne on Jan. 23.
King Salman told government officials and other dignitaries that the search for new
deposits of oil, gas and other natural resources in the Kingdom would continue. “High
petrol prices during the past few years have had a positive effect on the national
economy and in the development of projects,” the king said.
But the plunge in oil prices has emphasized the need for economic alternatives, and King
Salman said the Kingdom's future economy "will be based on a number of foundations,"
with a growing number of small and medium enterprises.
“The next few years will be abound of important accomplishments aimed at emphasizing the
role of the industry and the service sectors in the national economy.”
King Salman emphasized that he would work for ensuring justice to all citizens and give
them opportunities to realize their dreams and aspirations.
“I am deeply concerned about every citizen in the country and every part of our beloved
nation and all of them will receive my care and support. There will not be any
discrimination towards citizens and regions,” he told senior princes, ministers,
governors, Shoura members, top military commanders, the grand mufti, Islamic scholars,
top editors and other dignitaries at his palace in Riyadh.
King Salman urged Saudis to remain united. “I would like to reaffirm my desire to
challenge the causes of differences and reasons of division and end social
classifications that jeopardize national unity. All citizens are equal in rights and
duties,” he said.
King Salman stressed the role of media in enabling the public to express their opinion,
and spreading facts without causing division and conflicts in the community. “Media
should be a means for strengthening national unity and boosting development.”
He said Saudi Arabia would continue its efforts to achieve comprehensive, integrated and
balanced development for all regions. “Ever since the Kingdom’s founder, the government
has been making continuous efforts for development and modernization, without deviating
from religious principles and social values while protecting the rights of all
He said he had instructed the Council for Political and Security Affairs and the Council
for Economic and Social Development to double their efforts to boost citizens’
prosperity. “We’ll not accept any leniency in this matter,” he added.
King Salman told all ministers and government officials that they have been appointed in
their positions to serve citizens. “We have issued instructions to review and strengthen
existing monitoring systems to ensure more efficiency and performance in order to fight
corruption, protect public wealth and punish culprits.”
The king reminded citizens of their great responsibility in safeguarding the country’s
security and stability and urged them to remain consolidated with their country
leadership and government against the country’s spiteful enemies.
He praised the country’s security forces for foiling many terrorist operations that
targeted the nation, its citizens and vital facilities. “I would like to inform all
citizens and residents in this country that security is the responsibility of all and
we’ll not allow anybody to tamper with our security and stability.”
King Salman said the government would support small and medium size enterprises to
achieve substantial growth and serve as a strong economic base for a large group of
Referring to the services sector, he said the government would adopt effective steps to
improve health services to citizens all over the Kingdom. “Health centers as well as
referral and specialized hospitals will be made accessible to all.”
Speaking about the housing problem, the king said the government would seek quick and
practical solutions for all citizens to have suitable homes. He emphasized the need to
integrate general and higher education and provide advanced infrastructure facilities
for educational institutions. “Graduates of these institutions must meet the country’s
development and job market requirements.”
King Salman reiterated the government’s efforts to provide higher education to Saudis by
enabling them to study at reputable institutions inside and outside the country. “The
nation has lots of expectations from you and you have to concentrate on gaining the best
education,” the king told students.
Describing students as an investment for the nation’s future, he said the government
would continue its efforts to provide them with suitable jobs to have a decent living.
“It’s joint responsibility of public and private sectors to provide employment
opportunities for citizens,” he added.
Addressing businessmen and businesswomen, the king said: “You are partners in progress
and the state supports the private sector to enhance its contribution to the national
economy. We have provided a lot of facilities and special rights for you and the state
expects from you a lot. You have to come up with initiatives for job creation and social
and economic services.”
King Salman instructed regional governors to receive citizens and listen to their
problems and proposals for the nation’s progress and take steps to enhance their welfare
He highlighted King Abdul Aziz’s efforts to unify the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and
establish a modern state on the basis of Shariah. “By the grace of God, your country is
going ahead on the path of progress and growth, making solid steps, while adhering to
the teachings of Shariah and preserving our culture and traditions.”
King Salman also spoke about the government’s efforts to enhance services for pilgrims
who come for Haj and Umrah. “Since the time of its establishment, Saudi Arabia has been
exerting all possible efforts in the service of Islam and to realize the hopes and
aspirations of Muslims all over the world.” He said Saudi Arabia considered its services
for the two holy mosques as an honor.
He also addressed the Kingdom’s armed and security forces and said the government would
continue its efforts to strengthen their capabilities to defend the country’s security
“Our foreign policy is based on the teachings of Islam that calls for affection and
peace as well as international charters and agreements...We reject interference in our
internal affairs and we defend Arab and Islamic causes.”
He said Saudi Arabia has emphasized the right of the Palestinians to establish an
independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. “We’ll continue our efforts to achieve
Arab and Islamic unity and solidarity to improve relations and confront challenges.
We’ll also work for global peace and stability.”
The king emphasized the Kingdom’s policy of settling differences through dialogue and
peaceful means. He also referred to the Kingdom’s endeavors to fight terrorism and
extremism in cooperation with the international community. Saudi Arabia will support
efforts to protect environment and achieve sustainable development, he added.
The king began his speech by saying: “I have the pleasure to address you with a heart
full of love and sincerity looking forward to a bright future for the country.” He
concluded his speech by seeking God’s help to fulfill his responsibilities in the best