Yesterday, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, visited Jubail Industrial City, where he patronized the inauguration of a teacher training college for girls. Acting Chairman of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thinayan Al-Saud explained to Crown Prince Abdullah that the Royal Commission has played an important role in supporting educational facilities in Jubail. He went on to say that Commission is now concentrating on expansion of investment opportunities, and taking advantage of advanced technology to reduce production costs and increase revenues.
The Crown Prince then patronized the launching of development projects in a number of Saudi Arabian Basic Industries (SABIC) companies. Safco produces fertilizers, Al-Sharq and Kemya produce petrochemicals, notably polyethylene, and Al-Razi is a world leader in the production of methanol. SABIC operates 17 industrial complexes and exports to over 100 countries. More than 70 percent of the workers in SABIC are Saudi, and some factories have over 90 percent. Minister of Industry and Electricity Dr. Hashim bin Abdullah Al-Yamani commented that the industrial sector has achieved an annual growth rate of 9.6 percent, and its contribution to the GDP rose to 9.5 percent in 1997. The Kingdom's industrial exports now generate some SR 27 billion (U.S. $ 7.2 billion).
In Dammam yesterday evening Crown Prince Abdullah chaired a session of the Board of Trustees of the King Abdul Aziz Society for the Gifted, whose headquarters in Riyadh will be in a palace he donated to the Society, and which is temporarily housed in a building lent by Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of State and Cabinet Member. After the meeting, the Crown Prince patronized the ceremony of laying the foundation stone for the Dammam office, which will be built using locally-donated funds. Speaking on the occasion, the Crown Prince declared: "We pray God that it this will provide a start for a number of our gifted young people to serve their religion, their country, and the Arab and Islamic worlds." Crown Prince Abdullah then proceeded to the Saad Al-Sanaa Center for Speech and Hearing, where he was briefed on the Center's education program for handicapped children.
At a reception in his honor on Sunday evening, Crown Prince Abdullah spoke of how Islamic Shari'ah is implemented in the Kingdom, and called for everyone to work together for the development and progress of the country. He highlighted the significant role being played by Saudi women, saying: "We will not tolerate any attempt to undermine the effective role being played by women in the service of their religion and country. Taking into account the teachings of Islam, we will do our best to enable Saudi women to continue to contribute."