Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Director of Information and Communication at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) denied that Riyadh intends to limit the number of licenses issued under the system of foreign investment.
In comments to the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA), SAGIA Communications Director Nasser Al-Tawayan said that reports that Saudi Arabia aims to limit the number of foreign investment licenses to just 100 per year were “baseless and untrue.”
“It is not logical for SAGIA to adopt such a trend since it is incompatible with the basic principles underlying the economic policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is based on openness, flexibility and the application of the concept of the free market in general,” he said.
Speaking on Friday, Tawayan stressed that Riyadh is exerting effort to provide the appropriate environment to attract and develop local and foreign investment, in addition to providing “all aspects of support, facilitation and incentives to create a more competitive investment environment to enable private sector enterprises to achieve further growth and prosperity.”
He said that limiting the number of licenses that are being issued annually would not be consistent with the law of foreign investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, adding that Riyadh is seeking to boost investment. “The Saudi Arabian investment market is considered to be the most open and advanced in the region,” he added.
“The law clearly stipulates that the doors of foreign investment are open in all sectors and activities with the exception of those activities excluded from foreign investment in accordance with the decisions of the Supreme Economic Council,” Tawayan told SPA. Exclusions do not exceed 13 activities relating to security, sovereign and religion aspects, he said.
The SAGIA Communications Director also clarified that foreign investment regulation allows foreign investors to obtain more than one license in various activities.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently witnessing significant and unprecedented development and the absorptive capacity of the Saudi economy is huge while big spending on development projects creates countless investment opportunities. The conditions are very favorable to encourage the entry of promising investment for the national economy,” Tawayan said.