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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Saudi Shoura Council Calls for Reduction in Internet Fees

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Members of the Shoura Council have called on the country’s telecommunication companies to reduce their Internet and other communication fees.

These costs were too high and were a heavy burden on citizens, particularly since these companies were making huge profits, the members were quoted as saying by a local publication on Tuesday.
Abdulmohsen Al-Mark, a Shoura member, made this appeal during a meeting of the body’s transport, communication and information technology committee, which had been discussing the annual report of the Ministry of Culture and Information for the 2014/2015 financial year.

Another member, Sami Zaidan, questioned the fines imposed on telecommunication companies, saying this would hurt their competitiveness. This was in reference to the Communications and Information Technology Commission fining firms SR552 million last year for various violations.

Last year, a committee of experts had found that telecommunication companies had been cutting telephone cables, providing illegal connections, selling prepaid mobile phone chips without registering identity numbers, making illegal offers and issuing unauthorized telephone service licenses.

The Shoura’s transport, communication and information technology committee recommended in its report that the ministry urgently completes its national strategy on information security, and to work with the Ministry of Finance to approve communication projects and budgets of government agencies.
On a related issue, Abdullah Al-Asheikh, president of the Shoura Council, praised statements made by the speaker of the Parliament in Kuwait Marzouk Al-Ghanem during a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Baghdad, objecting to the views of Iran’s parliamentary speaker about Saudi Arabia.

This was in reference to Al-Ghanem saying at the 11th conference of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC that Iran’s Ali Larijani should not condone his country’s interference in the affairs of Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region.

The Shoura also discussed the report of the education and scientific research committee concerning the annual report of the Ministry of Education for the 2014/2015 financial year.

The committee urged the ministry to ensure quality education in the country, which should include making sure school buildings were adequate for lessons and to prepare properly for each academic year.

With regard to the annual report of the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) for the 2014/2015 financial year, the Shoura urged the organization to study ways in which the pensions of retirees could keep up with inflation, so that their purchasing power could be maintained.
The Shoura called on GOSI to review the distribution of its real estate portfolio and reduce its concentration in Riyadh. This would ensure greater equity in economic and social development across the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Shoura approved draft agreements to recruit domestic workers that was concluded recently between the Saudi Ministry of Labor and its counterparts in Djibouti and Niger.

News Source: http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/871136

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