The unchecked increase in the price of real estate is a problem that was previously blamed on a shortage of vacant plots of land which some officials have used as an excuse to not carry out residential projects. How can they say this when vacant plots of land can be seen throughout our neighborhoods?
According to realtors, the scarcity of land in the Eastern Province is primarily because of Saudi Aramco’s hold on a vast area of land. Aramco President and CEO Khaled Al-Faleh called this area of land “important and vital for Saudi oil production.”
He added: “The company won’t sacrifice this land at the expense of the future of the national economy and the future generations.” These are sweet words. If these plots of land are owned by citizens, it is essential to give them compensation in line with the statements voiced by Al-Faleh. If these lands are not owned by citizens, then the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs should explore other parts of the region where houses can be constructed.
If the areas that Aramco occupies are floating on a sea of oil, then it is essential to relocate Eastern Province residents to new cities away from the potential oil fields as pollution from these fields is a health risk.
The million-dollar question is: Does Saudi Aramco own these plots or were these lands confiscated on account of their importance to the national economy?
The answer to this question will shed some light on the rights of citizens who have been affected by Aramco’s policies and determine the rightful owner once and for all.