JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Published — Thursday 10 July 2014
Last update 10 July 2014 6:46 am
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has instructed ministries and other government agencies to prepare their investment plans in association with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), said Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of SAGIA.
“The ministries have been told to present their investment plans to the Supreme Economic Council for review and approval,” he said while highlighting SAGIA’s efforts to woo value-added foreign investment to the country.
SAGIA is in the process of publishing an investment atlas for the Kingdom in order to facilitate foreign investment, explaining investment opportunities across the country. SAGIA has licensed about 10,000 investment projects since its inception in 2000.
SAGIA has set out new regulations and conditions to promote value-added investment and canceled licenses of nearly 4,000 investors after they failed to correct their status in accordance with new requirements.
“We have carried out some 60,000 procedures for foreign investors including changes and additions in licenses,” he explained during a meeting with 50 lawyers from different parts of the Kingdom.
Al-Othman emphasized his organization’s readiness to issue investment licenses within five days if all the required papers are submitted. “We have introduced a speedy customer service system for the benefit of all investors,” he added.
Economist Ehsan Buhulaiga, a former member of the Shoura Council, said Saudi Arabia has been successful in attracting foreign investment in recent years in vital sectors such as minerals, railways and petrochemicals.
Speaking with Arab News, he blamed Arab Spring-related violence in the region for the slow growth of investment in the Kingdom during the last three years.
The Kingdom’s strong economic performance was instrumental in encouraging foreign companies to invest in the country, Buhulaiga said. “Our economic growth in recent years was driven by internal injections rather than external injections,” he said referring to the heavy government spending on various development projects.