Riyadh, Aug 31 (IANS) Saudi Arabia has announced the creation of a new Natural Resources Ministry, separating it from the Energy Ministry, while replacing the head of the royal court in a wide-ranging shake up of the government.
The new Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources will be headed by prominent businessman Bandar al-Khorayef, who comes into government from the Saudi industrial conglomerate Al-Khorayef Group, the Saudi Gazette reported.
“The tasks and responsibilities related to the two sectors — industry and mineral resources — shall be transferred to al-Khorayef”, said the royal order issued by King Salman on Friday.
According to the royal order, the earlier name “Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources” shall be changed to the “Ministry of Energy”.
The appointment of Al-Khorayef is seen as a reduction in influence for Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih. The Minister was one of the architects of attempts by the world’s top crude exporter to diversify its oil-reliant economy.
Other royal decrees published in state media on Friday named Fahd Bin Mohammed Al-Essa as chief of the royal court, the centre of power and politics in the monarchy. He is said to be close to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is the kingdom’s de facto ruler and heir apparent.
Former Information Minister Awwad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad was appointed head of the Human Rights Commission, while Mazen al-Kahmous was named new Chairman of the national anti-corruption commission.