Yesterday, the day after he attended the 17th Job Fair at the King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Minister of Interior Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz, who is also Chairman of the Manpower Council, held an open dialogue with faculty and students. During the discussions, he remarked that it is necessary for the Kingdom to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), although only after ascertaining all the facts; this, he said, is the responsibility of the concerned authorities, notably the Ministry of Commerce. The most important thing, he added, is to ensure that there is nothing to contradict Islam and the Saudi identity.
Answering a question on the establishment of the human rights committees, Prince Nayef stated that the idea had been under study for over two years, and the unjust campaign against the Kingdom was not the factor that prompted it. He added: "In the sphere of human rights, all I have to say is that these rights already exist in the country. Islam preserves dignity for human beings. There are no treaties or commissions better than Islam for protecting human rights." Pointing to the fact that Saudi Arabia derives its knowledge of human rights from the Holy Qur'an and the teachings of the Prophet, he declared: "The citizen should be re-assured about this and others should know that our position cannot be changed by frantic campaigns and dubious voices whether raised through organizations, countries or individuals." He added: "If there are any shortcomings or mistakes or if we have failed to abide by Islamic Shariah, in such an eventuality, it will be a negotiable matter. But, if someone wants us to change our belief, this will be a rejected. In all honor we have to defend our Islamic belief."
Asked to comment on foreign investment in the Kingdom and its impact on small investors, Prince Nayef said that what is now required is investment of Saudi capital and the return of Saudi investment from overseas. As for Saudization, this, he said, has reached 85 percent in certain establishments, industrial companies and financial institutions such as banks.
On Saturday, Prince Nayef patronized the fourth annual meeting of businessmen and the ceremony honoring establishments that have won the Prince Nayef Saudization Award. In an address on the occasion, Prince Nayef explained that the private, like the public, economy is concerned in the first place with the interest of the citizens. Saudization, he declared, is not a slogan to be raised on occasion, but rather a strategic option for the benefit of the homeland and its citizens.
In the open discussion that followed, a question was raised on Saudization of drivers during next year's Hajj season. Prince Nayed stated that this has been a problem in the past, and car syndicates have been asked to employ only Saudis. For next year, a mechanism is in place to implement this. Companies should be prepared to grant leave to employees who can drive and who wish to offer their services during Hajj. In addition, 15,000 government drivers will be reassigned to duties in Makkah.
Yesterday, Prince Nayef inaugurated a new model of air-conditioning unit at Al-Zamil Factory. Its production will be accomplished by 100 percent Saudi manpower. Over the past 25 years, the company has given employment and training to about 3,000 young Saudis, of whom 800 are still with Al-Zamil, while the others have joined other companies after their training. This year, Al-Zamil has taken on 20 handicapped youngsters. Prince Nayef praised the efforts exerted by the Al-Zamil family, and hailed the efficiency and capability of young Saudis. He went on to state: "We are determined to let others know that there is a country called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that is known for its products and has been effectively contributing to enhancing the pillars of global stability."