Some Saudi ministers are arrogant and superior and need to “do more for the Saudi citizen,” billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz said in an interview published on at the weekend.
In a question and answer session with the Saudi Gazette newspaper, when asked if he believed some Saudi ministers are arrogant and superior, the prince replied: “Yes, I believe that some of them are. A scene that I saw on television comes to my mind at this moment. A Saudi minister was expressing his protest to a question by a journalist on a satellite channel by blowing repulsively at the microphone.
“He told the questioner to “go to hell”. This is not appropriate for the image of the Kingdom or of the minister himself.”
However, Prince Alwaleed conceded that “there are ministers who are down to earth and extremely nice in their dealings with other people.”
In an earlier question about his relationship with ministers, he said he had “ties of friendships with many of them,” but said he would “urge them all to do more for the Saudi citizen.
“The ministers must make the father of the nation King Abdullah their role model. The king refused many titles and said he was the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Servant of the People. Therefore, every minister should be certain that he has been appointed in his position only to serve the Saudi citizens.”
In October, in an open letter, Prince Alwaleed said he had “a fundamental difference” of opinion with Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi on the kingdom’s policy not to reduce oil production in the wake of declining prices, but stopped short of demanding the minister’s resignation.
In the open letter, dated October 13, the chairman of Kingdom Holding said he was "astonished" about comments reportedly made by Al Naimi aiming "to alleviate the substantial negative implications on the Saudi budget and economy due to the big drop in oil prices".
In a later TV interview with Fox Business Network presenter Maria Bartiromo he was asked whether he thought the Saudi Oil Minister should go. However, the prince declined to comment and said the minister was simply implementing the policy adopted by the government.
“I think this is not my call, this is the call of the Saudi government but frankly speaking I believe it is not the matter of whether the minister applies what he thinks or not, it is what the government’s policy is as the minister implements the policy of the government.
“I believe the government’s strategy and policy should be to implement a policy whereby our strategic reserves... almost $800 billion… should be used effectively in a sovereign wealth fund that is active, dynamic and on the move like Norway, like Singapore and like Kuwait,” he said.
Last week, the Saudi government said it had no plans to set up a sovereign wealth fund to raise capital to help alleviate any deficit as a result of the drop in oil prices.
However, this was something the royal, who has investments in Citibank Group, the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, News Corp, Disneyland Paris and Twitter through Kingdom Holding, addressed this in his latest interview.
“This is not informed talk. I think the kingdom needs this fund now more than ever, especially with the sharp fall in oil prices.
“We have to activate these funds to ensure the government with more profits. This cannot be accomplished without the sovereign fund, which will have returns of 8 to 10 percent a year, as is the case in Norway, China, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Singapore and other countries.”For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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