JEDDAH, (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has doubled the capital of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) to 40 billion riyals ($10.7 billion) from 20 billion riyals in an effort to develop industry in the world’s biggest oil exporter, its chairman Abdulrahman al-Hamidy said late on Tuesday.
The SIDF is a government-affiliated fund which grants medium- and long-term loans for private industrial projects.
“The fund started with a capital of 500 million riyals … During the reign of King Abdullah it was raised to 20 billion in 2005 … And now the king has approved doubling it to 40 billion riyals,” al-Hamidy said in remarks published by the Saudi Press Agency.T.
Saudi Arabia is looking to diversify its economy away from oil. It is spending $400 billion in the five years to 2013 to upgrade its infrastructure and has launched a plan to build five economic and industrial cities.
The SIDF has issued loans worth 95 billion riyals since it was first set up in 1974 to support industrial services projects as well as raising the amount of financing available for projects in less developed areas of the kingdom.
Last year the Saudi Arabian Mining co (Maaden) said the SIDF will help finance the second phase of its $10.8 billion integrated smelter and rolling mill complex.