JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia, which celebrates today the 79th anniversary of its foundation by King Abdul Aziz in 1932, has achieved unprecedented progress in a comparatively short period under the guidance of its leaders.
This year’s National Day comes a few months after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah announced a series of welfare programs worth more than SR600 billion that would boost the country’s progress and prosperity.
King Abdullah, who has been described by political analysts as the Kingdom’s most popular king, issued a series of decrees in the beginning of this year. They included plans to construct 500,000 new housing units in different parts of the Kingdom, allocation of SR250 billion for the housing project, setting SR3,000 as minimum wage for Saudis, a two-month salary bonus for government workers and SR2,000 monthly unemployment allowance for Saudis.
While highlighting the significance of the National Day, senior government officials said King Abdullah’s reign saw tremendous growth in the Kingdom’s educational, health, economic and industrial sectors. This is the 81st anniversary of the Kingdom’s foundation according to the Hijri calendar.
Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman congratulated King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, and Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif on the occasion.
“The Kingdom, its government and people are celebrating that glorious day in the history of this nation and the Arab and Islamic world … The day is a shining landmark in the history of the nation when these noble people and this holy land united under one name bonding them together with ties of brotherhood, love and peace,” Prince Salman said, emphasizing the Kingdom’s support to Arab and Muslim countries.
Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah said the Kingdom has been giving special attention to the education sector. The prince also commended the king for the huge budgetary allocations aimed at rapid progress in education and knowledge.
“King Abdullah realizes the significance of education and knowledge in the all-round development of the Kingdom, and that is why he ordered the construction of buildings for all government schools.” He added that the launching of new universities and sending students abroad for studies also reflect the king’s ambition to build the Kingdom on the firm foundation of knowledge.
Currently the Kingdom has 32 universities while the number of students enjoying scholarships for studies abroad reached 120,000.
Minister of Culture and Information Abdul Aziz bin Khoja described the day as an occasion to renew the country’s commitment to achieve human-oriented revival and progress. “The National Day is an occasion to commemorate the unification of the Kingdom on the firm foundation of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah,” Khoja said.
The sons of the late founder King Abdul Aziz followed the path paved by their father with their allegiance to their religion, motherland and people, the minister said, adding that King Abdullah with his wisdom, statesmanship and insight managed to put his nation among the developed nations in a short span of time.
Recounting the achievements over the past 81 years, Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal Alireza said the Kingdom, which is now a member of G20, has become the top economy in the Middle East while it is the largest manufacturer and exporter of oil in the world, and has the world’s fourth largest gas reserve.
It is also the largest manufacturer of petrochemicals in the Arab world. In terms of facilitating business activities, the Kingdom has the 11th position in the world while it is the ninth among the countries enjoying economic stability, the minister said.
In a statement on the occasion, Governor of the General Organization of Social Insurance Suleiman Al-Humayyed said his organization has 5.1 million subscribers in 277,000 registered establishments.
“The total amount spent by the GOSI has crossed the SR70 billion mark. The monthly pension paid to 273,000 beneficiaries has reached SR772 million,” he said, adding that the organization invested SR8 billion in various real estate projects in addition to making investments worth more than SR47 billion in various national companies. The organization was founded 43 years ago and has been totally Saudized.