Saudi Arabia forms new tourism, sports, investment ministries

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The reshuffle saw the return of ousted former Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as investment minister.

Wednesday 26/02/2020

A file photo shows newly named Saudi investment Minister Khalid al-Falih at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 7, 2019. (Reuters)

LONDON - Saudi Arabia announced the formation of three new ministries and the merging a number of ministries in a cabinet reshuffle announced February 25.

According to state news agency SPA, the royal decrees called to merge the ministry of civil service and the ministry of labour, creating a new ministry of human resources and social development.

The ministry of commerce and investment was renamed the ministry of commerce; the General Sports Authority was promoted to the ministry of sports, with the head of the authority, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud named as sports minister, SPA reported. It added that the commission for tourism and national heritage had also been changed to the ministry of tourism, with Ahmed bin Aqeel al-Khateeb named as its minister.

The reshuffle also saw the return of ousted former Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as investment minister.

A royal decree saw Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar dismissed from his post as Governor of the General Investment Authority, transforming the body into a ministry of investment with al-Falih as its minister.

Falih was sacked as energy minister in a major shakeup last September and replaced by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman — the first member of the royal family to ever take charge of the kingdom’s key ministry.

According to the Financial Times, al-Falih was removed from his position over “his inability to deliver a rapid overhaul of industrial strategy and a cautious approach to the stock market offering of Saudi .”

“Within a few days in September, he lost a series of positions including his role as the head of oil policy and the chairman of the state energy giant," the Financial Times reported. 

The reshuffle also saw Turki al-Shabanah dismissed from his brief post as minister of media. Minister of Commerce Majid bin Abdullah al-Qasabi will take charge of the ministry. Minister of Housing Majid bin Abdullah bin Hamad al-Hoqail was also made acting minister of municipal and rural affairs.

Saudi Arabia is gearing up to host the G20 summit in November, which will will host leaders of the world's 20 richest nations in the capital Riyadh. 

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