IntroductionThe effectiveness and efficiency of Saudi Arabia’s public sector is vital towards the success of the country’s development activities. Enhanced financial management, an efficient civil service and administrative policy, efficient collection of taxes, and transparent operations which are free from any form of corruption, will all greatly contribute to the country’s delivery of public services. Over the last 50 years or so, progress in key areas in countries such as Saudi Arabia has been hampered by tension between leftist and rightist solutions. This is so because Leftist solutions are emphasizing on equality at the price of uniformity, while rightist on the other hand are dwelling on diversity at the expense of inequality.
Today we are in a society whereby economies that wish to become more competitive have to provide its citizens with high quality services while at the same time embracing flexibility in order to allow for a high degree of personalization and choice (Michael, 2007). It is this combination of equity, diversity, and need for quality that has transpired as a challenge for public sector development in Saudi Arabia. As the country’s citizen become wealthier, they can be able to independently provide for their health, education and security.
When public services of are low quality, the country’s citizens are always unwilling to pay taxes, and if this happens, it is very difficult for a country to maintain its necessary tax rate, whereby once the tax base crumbles, public services are more likely than not to spiral downwards as just some kind of a safety net for the poor. It is due to this background that Saudi Arabia’s king Abdullah decided to embark on some series of reforms that will enhance the image of the country’s public sector.
Key Reforms in Saudi ArabiaKey areas that are grossly affected by the reforms include; the state administration, economy, education, law, religion, and the electoral system. King Abdullah believes these are the main areas that need to be specifically dwelled on so that the country may regain its heritage across the globe. These reforms have already started working in some key areas whereby they have managed to loosen some arcane structures in which arch-conservative clerics have even been ousted from top posts and forbidden from proclaiming obscurantist fatwas.
For instance, the police have been forced to curb their enthusiasms, women are today accorded more freedom whereby they are now allowed to drive cars. State Administration Even though the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has attempted some administrative reforms, there are still a number of difficulties being experienced, these include; low standard of technology utilization, increasing costs in public sector services, bureaucratic procedures, and overlapping of responsibilities among others. There have been various attempts to reorganize Saudi Arabia public administration.
For instance, way back in 1963 the Saudi government signed an agreement with Ford foundation to recognize all the available government agencies and institutions. The government also formed a higher committee for administration reform to control and supervise administrative reform in the country (Shahid, 1998, p. 156).