RIYADH, 8th May, 2016 (WAM) — Saudi Arabia replaced its oil minister in a major cabinet reshuffle on Saturday, as it embarks on new economic reforms. The new oil minister is Khaled Al Falih, former Health Minister and chief of Saudi Aramco, and his predecessor, Ali al-Naimi, will become an adviser to the royal court. Meanwhile, the ministry has been renamed to become the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, also appointed new ministers for water, commerce, health, transport, social affairs and pilgrimages. Majed Al Qasbi was named head of the new commerce and investment ministry, and Ahmed Al Kholifey was appointed governor of the Kingdom’s Central Bank. The King also restructured some portfolios, merging the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs and establishing a commission for recreation and culture. The Ministry of Electricity and Water was scrapped.
John Sfakianakis, Director of Economics Research at the Gulf Research Centre in Riyadh, said, “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.”