Saudis call Vision 2030 a 'dream come true'

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a popular figure among youths in the kingdom

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 27, 2021, shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during an interview with the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) in the capital Riyadh to mark the fifth anniversary of his vision 2030. AFP / Saudi Royal Palace
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 27, 2021, shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during an interview with the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) in the capital Riyadh to mark the fifth anniversary of his vision 2030. AFP / Saudi Royal Palace

Saudis expressed their joy and praise for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 on Tuesday evening, five years after it was launched.

Prince Mohammed on Tuesday night gave a televised interview to celebrate the first five years, appearing on the Liwan Al Mudaifer Show on the Rotana Khalijiah channel.

Social media users posted messages under trending hashtags such as "Saudis are not afraid", "Meet the Crown Prince", "No income tax" and "Our dream comes true" on Twitter.

Prince Mohammed, the founder of Vision 2030 and a popular figure among the youth of Saudi Arabia, is responsible for transforming the country and represents change for coming generations.

Saudi Arabian Razan Bakr told The National that the master plan changed society for the better in the past five years.

“The truth is, we would not be here if it wasn’t for Vision 2030," Ms Bakr said. "He has changed my country and our future."

"I never imagined seeing my mother drive my father around, my siblings going to public entertainment events or myself travelling without permission and working in a mixed environment where I have equal rights and opportunities to men.

"This is a new world. I am inspired by him and so proud to call myself Saudi."

Many of her compatriots echoed the patriotic sentiments.

“When he said the Saudi identity is strong and we are proud of it, all of us were with him rejoicing in our homes," said Abdulwahab, a sales officer living in the kingdom.

"We are not ashamed, we are proud to be Saudi citizens and it is time to realise our worth and dreams, especially with a leader like him who has the courage to take us there.

“From hosting E-prix, Formula 1 and other world championships, he has put us on the map."

Many Saudi women shared photos and videos of the Crown Prince they say has improved their status on a global scale.

“You see Saudi women in leadership positions across the country," said Rawan Idrees, a Saudi lawyer.

"From foreign ambassadors, CEOs and armed forces, women have been granted more freedom in their personal and professional lives.

"We applaud him and cannot wait to see what we achieve together by 2030. He has set the bar high and we hope his bold ambitions are realised for the sake of every Saudi citizen."

In the past five years, Prince Mohammed has increasingly spoken out for tolerance and moderation, and abolishing extremist ideology.

During his interview on Tuesday, he said the country could not grow or advance with extremist ideology, which “must be eradicated".

“I appreciate the Crown Prince openly denouncing this extremist ideology people have associated with our country and Islam," said Saud Faris, a Saudi architect.

"He is the voice of every Saudi trying to clear the dangerous and false notion about us."

Citizens also welcomed the "no income tax" announcement made by the Prince Mohammed, who said the VAT would also drop from 15 per cent to 5 or 10 per cent in the future.

"This is another reason foreigners love living in the kingdom," said Faisal Amoudi, a Saudi entrepreneur.

"Our country is not only concerned with providing benefits to its citizens, but even foreigners can work here tax-free and that's another reason they love living here."

"We are so lucky that during the Covid crisis, our government has not overburdened us with new laws.

"This is such a relief as most of us have suffered because of the pandemic and this announcement made us optimistic in these times."

Prince Mohammed said Vision 2040 will be the next step after the goals of Vision 2030 are achieved.

Updated: April 28, 2021 06:59 AM

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