July 27, 2012

My Take This Week: Welcome Mr. Ambassador

My Take This Week: Welcome Mr. Ambassador

Friday 27 July 2012

• I would like to welcome Sir John Jenkins, the new British Ambassador to Riyadh. Sir Jenkins comes with more than 30 years working experience in the Middle East including Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Damascus, Baghdad and Tripoli. I hope that UK and Saudi Arabia continue to share goals and ambitions established many years ago. I’m talking about defense, global prosperity, security, regional stability and combating terrorism. I would also like to see more UK businesses working with Saudi partners in the Kingdom and more Saudis investing in and visiting the UK. 
• An increasing number of Saudi women are showing their ability to excel professionally. The interview with Dr. Abeer Al-Namankany in Arab News proves that educated Saudi women will always shine. Al-Namankany, a dentist specialized in Hypnosis, developed a new standard to measure anxiety in dental patients. The UCL-Eastman Dental Hospital in London and many others in Sharjah and Dubai asked Dr. Abeer to share her innovation. I hope eventually a Saudi hospital would do the same.
• Some companies claim they have experienced substantial cost impact above their manpower budgeted costs as a result of the temporary delays in visa approvals. In my opinion, this is the “cost” of doing business. It has nothing to do with “green”, “yellow” or “red” companies depending on the number of Saudis working for them; it is a national duty to hire qualified Saudis. Look at the bright side, “green” companies are entitled to expedited services for foreign workers’ visas and the ability to change the job categories of foreign workers into job categories reserved for Saudis.
• Saudi Arabia is going solar as we plan to generate a third of our electricity from solar energy by 2032. The technology depends on using thousands of mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a central point to generate heat, which is then used to produce power. Indeed, we have plenty of sunshine and the economics in Saudi Arabia are obvious as solar power is more cost-effective than burning oil. Saudi Arabia plans to start its first tender in early 2013. 
• The Ministry of Labor has warned companies not to make their laborers work under the sun. I urge the Ministry to dispatch inspectors to ensure that companies are following the directive that bans workers from working in the sun between 12 to 3 p.m. I also urge the Ministry to make sure companies who violate the rule “take the heat” and face severe penalties if they repeat the violation.

Tweet: “Saudi Arabia is our largest trading partner in the Middle East... but it also has unique influence in the region and in the Islamic world.” David Cameron.

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