Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
Last week, Saudi Aramco took yet another giant step in its journey of innovation and services to the Saudi society. Since its establishment, the company has been taking such measures to improve its performance and for the betterment of society. Those living outside the Kingdom view Saudi Aramco as only the largest oil producer in the world but many in Saudi Arabia consider it an employer and educator of all segments of society. It really plays an important role to educate the masses through its various programs. It is very interesting that Saudi Aramco always comes up with innovative ideas. The recently launched “In-Kingdom Total Value Add” (IKTVA) program is also one of the many brilliant ideas the company initiates for the socioeconomic development of the country. In today’s world the concept of corporate social responsibility has gained considerable importance and the corporate sector in the Kingdom has also started catching up with the idea. However, Saudi Aramco could easily be termed a pioneer in this regard. As a matter of fact, investment per se lays the foundations of progress of any country. With the establishment of industries, job opportunities are created and over time new projects kick off. The Kingdom experienced a similar phenomenon after the recovery of oil and the establishment of a company to produce oil. Of course, such a huge undertaking like Saudi Aramco kicks off multiple other activities like construction of houses and other facilities for its employees etc. All these projects ultimately help the overall economy of the country. With the advancement in the fields of technology, the oil sector has undergone a huge transformation, which also resulted in the huge expansion of Saudi Aramco’s operations. In the 1980s, the company introduced the master gas system, which saw a massive development in its human capital. It was not only a gas master plan they had on their desks but it also proved to be a successful educational program in which Saudi young students — men and women — would become part of the company. We all know the importance of such programs, which help youth to learn different aspects of the practical world. Such training programs also hone youths’ leadership skills. We usually give West’s example of how western commercial entities offer training programs for young talent and how they work relentlessly for the uplift of their respective societies. Thankfully, such concepts are not alien to our society, particularly the business world. With the announcement of the latest program, Saudi Aramco is all set to expand its scope. It will prove to be very important for the country’s economy and will provide the Saudi youth with new opportunities. This program will lead to higher levels of Saudization and local spending. As the program gains momentum, the local manufacturers will be able to export part of their high quality products to the outside world. This program is underpinned by mandatory “local content development” of suppliers and contractors that prioritizes the purchase of goods and services from a local supplier base. Three critical objectives guide the program: Doubling the percentage of locally-manufactured energy-related goods and services to 70 percent by 2021; helping raise the export of Saudi-made energy goods and services to 30 percent over the same time frame; and, creating direct and indirect jobs within the energy-related sector for a growing and talented Saudi population. This program will have a positive impact on the local market and it will be a very important measure for transfer of latest technology to the Kingdom. Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Setting New Standards reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.