As a standards body organization, we have a business continuity plan and a committee to regularly review the plan and make sure it is executed correctly and proactively. One high priority component of the plan is the safety and protection of our employees. Another high priority component was responding to the needs of the business community. We provide essential services related to standardization such as issuing national standards and setting up conformity assessment activities for products and services. We worked on our various electronic platforms to maintain an effective connection with our staff, stakeholders, and partners. We also had to follow up and ease the process of approval to ensure a constant flow of goods and that there were no obstacles facing businesses, especially critical ones where a number of initiatives have been initiated and implemented. In addition, we actively worked in harmonization with the other governmental institutions such as Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA), which is responsible for the standards related to food and medical devices.
Sep. 1, 2021
Saad Othman Al Kasabi
Governor, Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO)
President, General Authority for Statistics
Saudi Arabia has plenty of data from many areas, though what was missing previously was a consolidation of that data and an integration of the information content. That is what a modern statistical institute should do, and this is the mandate that I was brought in to achieve: apply modern technologies and methodologies and bring the agency to an global level by following international standards and liaising with global organizations to determine what the data ecosystem requires. Policymakers also need data and statistical information available quickly in order to make timely decisions. I enjoy being in Saudi since the awareness is much higher than I have seen elsewhere. There is real interest in data-based evidence and finding out how much impact policy actions have. We seek to reduce the lag between the reference period and the publication of statistics. One recent success is the release of the first flash estimates of GDP 40 days after the reference period, which is impressive and in line with international standards. In the past, policymakers had to wait 90 days.
Abdulaziz M. AlSwailem
CEO, Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP)
One of the main milestones that we progressed after 30 months of operating as a unified intellectual property authority is that, by royal decree, SAIP will be linked organizationally to the prime minister. SAIP also finalized the national strategy of IP, which was submitted to the Council of Ministers. On the international side, we launched IP20+, which refers to the IP offices operating at the G20 to discuss global challenges related to IP. Globally, SAIP has also signed a number of cooperation programs with international IP offices in order to internationalize our office. We established fast-track examination and a collaborative search program with the Korean IP Office to provide cited documents in order to facilitate the examination of patent applications. We also initiated a cooperation program that allowed experts from universities to provide search reports for patent applications. We received 3,295 patent applications in 2020, and 589 patents were granted. We expected a reduction from 2019 due to the pandemic, but it is only 1% less than the previous year.
CEO, Authority of Spending Efficiency& Government Projects
We started in 2016, and the fiscal balance program took off in 2017 with some ambitious targets, with the aim of enhancing the efficiency of spending through mechanisms according to global best practices. The Center of Spending Efficiency was established in pursuit of one the Kingdom's 2030 vision objectives, which is to raising the efficiency of government spending. We work with entities to go through their expenditures and analyze them through different levels, even deep into how they operate and manage their current operations. Then, together we introduced regulatory changes to the government, including improving and updating the procurement law, introducing new legislation such as capacity demand and studies, and so forth. Over the past four years, we have been working jointly with all the government entities on improving spending efficiency to deliver SAR220 billion by the end of the fiscal balance program.