Saudi King announces fresh cabinet reshuffle

Riyadh, June 2 : Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Saturday announced another cabinet reshuffle, giving Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Al Saud the portfolio of the newly-established Ministry of Culture after extracting it from the Ministry of Information and Culture.

According to royal orders published by the state media, King Salman appointed private sector businessman Ahmed bin Suleiman Al Rajhi as Minister of Labour and Social Development, succeeding Ali Bin Nasser Al-Ghafees.

The king also set up new government bodies to promote culture and protect the environment in an attempt to modernise and create jobs for the young population, Saudi Gazette reported.

Abdul Lateef Al Shaikh was appointed Minister of Islamic Affairs. Al Shaikh had headed the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice whose powers were seriously curbed two years ago as the kingdom embarked on a massive reform drive.

King Salman also appointed Nasser Al Dawood as deputy Interior Minister and Abdullah Al Motani as Shura Council deputy chairman.

The Saudi monarch ordered the formation of a royal commission for the city of Mecca and the holy sites. Another royal decree saw the establishment of a Council for the Royal Protected Areas in the Royal Court.

The Royal Protected Areas Council would be chaired by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.

An administration for preserving historical areas in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to be affiliated to the Ministry of Culture, was also ordered to be formed.

Under the royal orders, six nature reserves were designated in order “to re-establish wildlife, enhance their development and promote eco-tourism”.

The changes in government institutions came amid reform-minded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s resolve to modernise the economy of the world’s biggest oil exporter.

The crown prince, who also serves as the Saudi Prime Minister under his father, launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign involving several of his royal siblings shortly after he became heir to the king in June 2017.

The royal orders also named several new deputies in the Ministries of Interior, Telecommunications, Transport and Energy, Industry and Minerals, and appointed new heads to the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu and the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, the report said.
(IANS)

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