Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: In a major cabinet reshuffle, the Saudi Arabia government on May 7 named Khaled Al Falih, a former Health Minister and Chief of Saudi Aramco, as the new oil minister, according to a WAM news report. Also, the ministry itself has been renamed as the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources,the report added.
Among the other changes carried out as part of the economic reforms is the appointment of Ali al-Naimi, Al Falih’s predecessor, as the Adviser to the Royal Court, the report said.
King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the report said, has also appointed new ministers for water, commerce, health, transport, social affairs and pilgrimages. The King, the report added, has restructured a few portfolios, merged the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs and established a commission for recreation and culture, while scrapping the Ministry of Electricity and Water.
Commenting on the slew of changes, John Sfakianakis, Director of Economics Research at the Gulf Research Centre, in Riyadh, was quoted by the report as saying, “The changes, especially at the Ministry of Petroleum, were much awaited, the decision to merge ministries and appoint Khalid Al Falih is definitely a plus and a sign of efficiency and technocratic continuity.”