“We are in this together – and we will get through this, together.”– Antonio Guterres
Since the last decade, Saudi Arabia has been on an increasing spree of digitization, economic growth, and business expansion. The up-trending graph has been witnessed since a few years and the time to come is not going to slow it down. The visionary leaders of the kingdom have let no stone unturned in turning their geography into a digitally rich, competitive, and agile nation. The kingdom has invested in a big way as a part of their Vision 2030 plan. Authentic Arab news channels have shown that as per the World bank, about 91% of the kingdom’s population has access to a speedy 4G mobile broadband.
But of course, as we say, every rose has its thorns – here comes the Covid-19 pandemic to test the resilience of the world, the Arab region being no different. Things have been turned upside down, everyone is affected – people, professions, business, economy and what not!
These have been testing times for Saudi Arabia and it is so satisfying to see that the kingdom has handled the pandemic very effectively and confidently. Facing tough health issues across, the people of Saudi Arabia have ascertained their positivity and support to their leaders. Here is how:
Difficulties Faced During the Covid-19 Crisis
These have been trying times for the world, Saudi Arabia being no different. Implications have been bad on Arab resources, international business, energies, oil and gas industries, bank and finance, eCommerce and much more. Here is a glimpse of the tough situation that the kingdom has been facing since the last few months, owing to the pandemic:
- Oil prices have fallen drastically. And as the pandemic shows less sign of going away, the oil prices are surging down further. The petroleum industry is drastically affected, and the low-price zone may last for some time to come. This has forced squeezing the financial resources. Even the financial industry has been affected due to this.
- There has been a drop in number of flights and light vehicle transit due to the imposed curfew and lockdown in most places. This has led to a forced closure to business in the travel / airline industry.
- Because of the steps taken by the government to fight against the pandemic, there is a lot of economic slowdown leading to a recession in most industries.
- Most industries are finding it tough to match their price expectations as their margins are getting eroded.
- The normal education system in all schools, colleges, universities, and educational institutes had to be changed from the traditional way to the online mode.
- The work from home mode has been implemented in most offices. Employees have been forced to stay at home, quarantine themselves and operate their functions from their laptops, mobile devices, desktops, with Internet in place.
- Oil and gas revenue have reduced by a large margin. Hence, oil companies are facing trouble generating income, meeting expenses, salaries etc.
- Small scale industries and businesses are finding it tough to survive the crisis and sustain the economic downfall.
- Projects are getting cancelled; assets are being underutilized and production schedules are being shut down.
Steps Taken by Saudi Arabia to Face the Covid-19 Crisis
“Saudi Arabia’s government is showing digital agility in addressing the COVID-19 crisis and continues its efforts to strengthen national resilience. Resilience, combined with agility, will be the new focus for digital government as countries emerge from the COVID-19 crisis”–Dr Zaki Khoury, a senior digital development specialist at the World Bank
However grave the situation is, the visionary leaders and the people of Saudi Arabia have an incredibly positive spirit and dedication to come out with a smile.
By the Government
The government has attempted to lower the effects of the crisis by carrying out the following reforms for better control and prevention measure to curb the spread of disease:
- Saudi Arabia has announced about SAR120 billion ($32 billion) as an incentive to revive its financial condition
- The private sector, especially SMEs will get support of SAR70 billion from the finance ministry
- Starting June 2020, the cost of living allowance will be suspended, and value-added tax will be increased to 15%. This is to level state finances that have been impacted with lower oil prices
- Provision of about 30,000 educational devices to all those needed with over 1,00,000 interactive digital educational hours for undergraduates
- Having the iEN national education portal for educating more than 6 million users
By the People, Business, and Industries of Saudi Arabia
It is not only the duty of the government to help bring up the economy and curb the spread of the pandemic. It is also the duty of the people to act upon certain measures and help the government rise above. Here are certain steps the citizens are following / must follow:
- Industries are reviewing their existing budget structure and cutting on extra costs. They are planning only necessary expenditure, postponing expensive and unnecessary spend like new constructions, new purchases etc.
- Supply chain and logistics operations must be followed with bare minimum resources with no compromise on quality or work and with no extra expenditure.
- All businesses are rethinking their main objective, scope of business and go-to-market strategy. It must be revamped depending upon the current scenario.
- For all those educational institutes that have not yet leveraged the potential of eLearning, now is the time to fully establish a virtual setup to ensure all students get good quality education virtually.
- Internet facility is available almost at all places, making work from home culture an easy and implementable one.
- Cloud-based technologies are picking up place as virtual working is increasing by the day
- Offering ongoing, undisturbed support and communication between employees and with customers is a prime matter of concern, which is being catered to.
- Adapting to newer websites, learning newer ways of digital transformation, and going by the current need is what the mass is following
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As We See A Brighter Saudi Arabia Emerge Out of the Crisis
Yesterday was difficult, today is better and we hope for a best tomorrow. As we see Saudi Arabia survive the Covid-19 blizzard in the best possible way, it is appreciable to witness their agility, sincerity, and wisdom with which the entire kingdom has managed to survive.
We @ Alareeb ICT are all set to support you in your drive to enhance your organizational digital transformation activities with a wide range of IT and digital transformation services. We, being a Saudi Arabian company, serve the whole of the GCC with our bouquet of industry-related services and solutions. Write to us at [email protected] for any software requirement of yours, and we shall be happy to assist your requirements.