Saudi Govt. Finances End Procedural Paperwork, Install E-Services

Time: June 02, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan announced obtaining the Royal Decree on suspending all procedural and financial transactions paperwork, in a final transitioning move into e-governing. Adopting a digital platform in the country supports transparency, and opens up more competitive lines for SMEs.

Welcoming the decree, Jadaan said the move comes as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

The royal decree ordered ministries and other government agencies to scrap paper documents related to procedures and financial transactions and install a digital system within 60 days.

Jadaan affirmed that authorities under the auspices of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will ensure a full transition into digital platforms.

State bodies that fail to fulfill this task within the determined duration should send their reasons for review to the finance ministry in participation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Jadaan said.

The Etimad digital platform, launched on January 21, aims at providing digital financial services to the public and private sectors.

E-services will help in saving time and efforts through scrapping paper transactions and achieving a higher degree of transparency, Jadaan said.

The finance ministry has already completed the automation process of the budget management, as well as the digitalization of purchases, tenders, contracts, payments and state-employees’ financial benefits.

King Salman issued a royal decree on Friday ordering all ministries and government agencies to scrap paper transactions in financial procedures and to fully adopt using the e-services of Etimad digital platform within 60 days.

In light of the Vision 2030, the Saudi Ministry of Finance aims to enable the Kingdom’s economy to be among the 15 largest economies in the world by 2030 through developing a distinct financial system.

The Ministry has adopted strategic and steadfast objectives based on five pillars related to the development of sustainable fiscal policies, optimizing the allocation of financial resources, improving efficiency through management, improving accounts quality, enhancing transparency, optimizing the utilization of state assets and enhancing the Kingdom’s position globally and regionally.

This article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat 

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Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia becomes the first Mena city to pilot 5G wireless

Time: May 26, 2018

Al Khobar, a city in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, became the first city in the Middle East and North Africa to test 5G wireless connectivity after it launched a pilot project last week, the kingdom’s Ministry of Culture and Information said.

“Because the capabilities of this technology are very high, it will pave the way for the development of other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality and robots,” the ministry cited a United Nation’s telecoms body report on the pilot as saying.

The 5G ultra-high speed mobile broadband is set to revolutionise the internet in the years ahead. Developing next-generation broadband and other communications technologies is one of the pillars of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plan to reduce the country’s dependence on hydrocarbons. A sophisticated digital infrastructure is seen as crucial to supporting the development of the private sector and creating jobs for Saudi nationals.

The kingdom set up the National 5G Taskforce last year with the aim of overseeing the administrative, regulatory and other changes required to introduce next-generation mobile broadband. Led by a steering committee, it oversees the progress and engages with stakeholders including the government, telecoms operators, equipment vendors and potential end-users.

Al Khobar’s pilot was subsequently launched after Saudi Arabia’s national telecoms regulator, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), issued licences for testing a 5G mobile network using 100 megahertz (MHz) channels with a bandwidth of 3.6-3.8 gigahertz (GHz) – the speeds required for 5G.

The pilot “surpassed the limits of previous wireless technologies with a data-transmission speed of more than 1Gbps,” the CITC said in a statement to media on Friday.

The commission plans to convert the test-and-trial licences to full and exclusive 5G operating licences in 3.4-3.8 GHz by the middle of next year. Awards for an even broader spectrum could follow by the beginning of 2020, it added. It has already awarded additional bandwidth scope to mobile operators Mobily, Saudi Telecommunications Company and Zain.

All necessary 5G policies are intended to be in place by the end of 2019, the CITC said this week. Full roll-out of the technology is likely to require substantial investment from the private sector.

“The government is taking an active role to help create the best conditions for the private sector to invest in developing and deploying 5G in Saudi Arabia in a timely and efficient manner,” said Majed Almazyed, the commission’s deputy governor for technology and infrastructure and chairman of the 5G Taskforce.

“Saudi Arabia is determined to be a world leader in 5G to take early advantage of its benefits,” added Abdullah Alsawaha, the kingdom’s minister for communications and information technology.

Other GCC countries have joined the race to implement 5G, including the UAE, with Dubai-based telecom operator Du saying earlier this month it intends to roll out a limited 5G service later this year, ahead of a wider launch in 2019.

This article was first published in The National

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China launches satellite with Saudi payload to explore Moon’s far side

Time: May 23, 2018

Riyadh — Saudi Arabia and China shared a rare trip to explore the invisible side of the Moon closely with the launch of a relay satellite on Monday.

The satellite is equipped with a payload for a space sensory system developed by Saudi engineers and researchers for filming and taking photos of the Moon.

The cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing comes in implementation of a memorandum of understanding concluded between the two countries during the visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to China on March 16, 2017, which laid the foundation for cooperation with the Chines Space Agency to explore the moon.

The payload was readied by Saudi engineers and researchers in a record time of 12 months during which the Saudi research team faced numerous challenges, most prominent of which was manufacturing a compact payload with a high capacity of less than 10.5 cu.cm and a weight of no more than 630 grams on the Chinese satellite.

The joint venture between Saudi Arabia and China aims at studying and exploring the moon, particularly the invisible side of it, to provide scientific data for researchers and specialists in space research and science.

To mark the occasion, Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed, President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), said Saudi Arabia’s participation in this great event will boost its efforts to develop its satellite technology and use it in several fields of reconnaissance and distance censoring as well as space telecommunications.

He said the payload consists of photographic units, data processing, the mediator between the satellite systems and the payload system which is light weight and has the ability to endure the space environment and taking photos from different angles and altitudes with an accuracy that varies according to the lunar orbit changes from 38 m to 88 m at 300km-9000 km altitudes, restoring and processing them.

He said KACST has scored success in developing those systems through a specialized task team of a host of Saudi engineers and researchers who contributed to the designing and manufacturing of the lunar filming payload system at the city’s labs.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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