The Saudi Council of Ministers allocated SR 1.4 billion for the development of Al-Oqair region for tourism purposes. It also passed the bylaws regulating companies under mayoralties as well as the bylaws of the new Radio and Television Commission.
Of the SR 1.4 billion, SR 1 billion will be appropriated for the delivery of electricity and SR 400 million for the provision of water and sanitation, said Culture and Information Minister Dr. Abdul Aziz Khoja.
The Ministry of Water and Electricity shall conduct all technical studies for the project to determine the final cost, and shall coordinate with the Ministry of Finance for approval of the project's budget, he said.
Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman for allocating SR 1.4 billion for Al-Oqair tourism project.
"The SCTA is coordinating with the concerned departments to provide the necessary infrastructure facilities such as roads, water and electricity for the project. We have also set up a committee to study its requirements," Prince Sultan said.
Al-Oqair is one of the major tourism projects approved by the government as part of efforts to boost domestic tourism.
"This Cabinet decision represents the real launching of the project. A royal decree has been issued earlier approving the Supreme Economic Council's proposal to establish Al-Oqair Development Company, a joint stock firm of public and private sectors," he said.
The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has allocated 100 million square meters of land for the project, which would be financed by public funds and private investors.
About 30 percent of the company's shares would be sold to the public in an initial public offering.
"With the next few weeks, procedures will be completed to establish Al-Oqair Development Company," Prince Sultan said, adding that Al-Ahli Capital has been appointed as financial adviser for the company's IPO. The company will develop the region for tourism and establish hotels and furnished apartments.
The Cabinet, which was chaired by King Abdullah at Al-Salam Palace, reviewed a number of reports on regional, Arab and international developments. It denounced Israel's orchestrated practices aimed at changing the geographic and demographic statuesque of Jerusalem and its ongoing violations of international law, its continuing settlement program and blockade imposed on Palestinian people throughout the occupied territories.
The Cabinet emphasized the importance of unifying international efforts to protect the Palestinians and put an end to all Israeli atrocities against them, said Khoja.
The Cabinet also warned against deteriorating situation in Syria on the backdrop of carnage, killings, violence and increasing number of the displaced, demanding the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to put an end to the regime's ongoing brutal oppressive practices against its people.
The Cabinet approved the bylaws of the Radio and Television Commission whose board of directors will be chaired by the minister of culture and information.
It also approved the bylaws of the Saudi Press Agency. The new Cabinet decisions are expected to boost the Kingdom's public media.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Prince Ahmad briefed the Cabinet on the results of the 19th annual meeting of regional governors in Jeddah. He said the governors' would follow the king's directives to serve citizens and meet their needs.
The Cabinet agreed to lift the tariff on Palestinian imports for another year and the government would bear the customs duties of Palestinian goods.
The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the exchange of information relevant to money laundering and terror financing between the Saudi Financial Investigation Unit (SFIU) of the Ministry of Interior and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the United States, which was signed on July 12, 2011.
The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding on exchanging information and investigations relating to money laundering and terror financing between SFIU and the Financial Investigation Unit of the Serious Organized Crime Agency (UK Financial Investigation Unit), which was signed on July 12, 2011.