ABDULLAH BIN IBRAHIM AL-ABDULKAREEM

Saudi Arabia 2021 | ENERGY & UTILITIES | INTERVIEW

SWCC was able to supply water to all its beneficiaries with high reliability and efficiency despite increased demand during the lockdowns and supply issues from around the world. Here, TBY talks to Abdullah Bin Ibrahim Al-Abdulkareem, Governor of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC).

Abdullah Bin Ibrahim Al-Abdulkareem
BIOGRAPHY

Abdullah Bin Ibrahim Al-Abdulkareem is the Governor of SWCC. He has a degree in computer engineering from King Saud University. He has held several leadership positions on several committees and councils. Coupled with current position, he chairs the board of directors of the Water Transportation and Technology Company.

What has SWCC done to adjust its internal processes, management structure, and relationships with its employees for the new reality of remote work?

As an industrial sector and a major player in providing water services around the clock to ensure a secure water supply to Saudi cities, SWCC has a well-developed and strong foundation. This foundation has dealt with this crisis with great professionalism and by activating the emergency plans and managing crises. Regarding the organizational structure of SWCC, there has been no change, and we will not let go of any of our employees, as the human capital of SWCC is the most important asset and the most important component of our successes. As for the working relationship, it is important to have flexibility in working hours, as well as in procedures that should not hinder business continuity and worker safety.

How has your external strategy changed since the crisis, for example, your strategic priorities and programs?

Water is the backbone of life, and SWCC contributes to secure water supplies for urban uses over 70% of the water needs in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, our priorities are water security, quality, and continuity of water supplies to all regions of the Kingdom as well as beneficiaries with high reliability and quality according to standards, and the commitment by applying all precautionary measures to maintain the safety of SWCC human capital, which SWCC pays all care and attention to ensure the continuity of its operations.

How did the crisis hit demand for water, and how has it impacted your projects?

Water demand has increased during the COVID-19 crisis, and the matter has become more complicated due to the concentration of citizens to some areas or cities with a high population density far exceeding their need for water in the usual conditions or because of the limited water resources for these areas. However, fortunately because of the reliability of the infrastructure of the water systems and directives in SWCC, we were able to contain these increases and overcome all challenges that the water sector may face due to this crisis and provide water supplies to all beneficiaries with high reliability and efficiency, according to standard specifications without any interruptions. In terms of our projects, we have faced many challenges regarding the supply of equipment and services; however, with the help of SWCC competencies and our expertise in this field and by using modern communication techniques to support the continuity of project execution, we were able to launch and operate some of our projects even before their scheduled times due to the increased demand for water. The rest of our projects are proceeding according to plan, despite all the challenges and procedures imposed by this pandemic.

Has SWCC or its customers benefited from the government's stimulus measures?

SAMA has launched a program with the value cost of more than SAR50 billion in the current stage, aimed at supporting the private sector and enabling it to play its role in promoting economic growth through a package of measures. This comes in response to government efforts to contain the financial and economic repercussions of the COVID-19 virus on the private sector and its establishments and as an extension of its prominent role in activating monetary policy tools, enhancing financial stability, and protecting private-sector activities, especially in the SME sector. SWCC has taken advantage of these programs to mitigate the effects of precautionary measures to combat COVID-19 on the SME sector, specifically reducing the burden of fluctuating cash flows for this sector and enabling it to grow during the coming period and contribute to supporting economic growth. It is also expediting the payment of financial dues to contractors and suppliers and supporting payments to all vendors and private sector facilities. The main objective is to support business continuity and growth of this sector during the current phase in a way that contributes to supporting the national economic growth.