Endowment forum to focus on huge untapped resource
Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh inaugurated Sunday the 3rd Endowment Forum in Riyadh.
Several prominent Saudi officials are participating as chairs of sessions in this two-day forum organized by the ministry and the Riyadh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (RCCI).
On Sunday, Minister of Social Affairs Majed Al-Qassabi chaired the session on endowment management systems while Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah chaired the session on endowments and their application.
On Monday, Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, chief of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, will chair a session on the reality of endowment in Saudi Arabia, and Rector of King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals Dr. Khalid bin Salih Al-Sultan will chair a session on international experiences in endowment, while adviser at the Royal Court, Saad Al-Shathri, will chair a session on the institutional structure of endowment.
In addition to the discussion sessions, other activities will include an exhibition and consultation service on endowments along with workshops on establishing endowments, modern trends in using endowment revenues, factors of successful investment, and the reality of charitable association endowments in the Kingdom.
Commenting on organizing the forum, Abdul Aziz Turkistani, a former adviser to the minister of Islamic affairs for international relations and former Saudi ambassador to Japan, told Arab News that the forum is very important because it deals with endowments, the huge inadequately untapped resource.
“A large part of endowments in the Kingdom are not utilized properly, either by negligence due to the passing away of people in charge or the mismanagement by existing people in charge. So, this forum is very important to tackle such issues and make proper recommendations to eliminate such cases,” he said.
In special press statement, the chair of the endowment committee at the RCCI, Badr bin Mohammed Al-Rajhi, said that the forum is expected to recommend establishing a specialized company to manage endowment investments in the Kingdom.
He expected the Kingdom will soon see its first independent governmental endowment commission to oversee all administrative and investment matters related to endowments in the country.
“The Shoura Council approved a proposal in this regard. So, we are soon expecting the establishment of the commission with its own board and administrative structure,” he said.
A recent study on developing the endowment sector in the Kingdom, commissioned by the endowment committee at RCCI, revealed that the sector and its return in the country is not satisfactory because of mismanagement and lack of transparency.
The study called for conducting awareness campaigns on endowments, reviewing the current reality, improving laws and regulations, and choosing qualified people to devise sound management systems in matters of endowments.