Riyadh, Asharq al-Awsat- Saudi Arabia revealed yesterday that it has achieved a substantial increase in the number of licensed investments. It announced that the amount of investments increased sixteen-fold to around $17.4 billion US (65.4 billion Saudi Riyals) in the first half of 2005, compared to $960 million US (3.6 billion Saudi Riyals) in the first half of 2004.
In its report for the second quarter of 2005, the General Investment
Authority said that it registered record figures and new rates of investment. Projects with a total value of 41 billion riyals were licensed in the second quarter of 2005, compared to total investments of 867 billion riyals within the same period of 2004, an increase of 4596%. It noted that licensed investments in the first quarter of 2005 reached 24.4 billion riyals, compared to total investments of 2.8 billion riyals during the same period of 2004, an increase of 768%.
Amr Bin-Abdallah al-Dabbagh, governor of the authority, said that field studies showed that 50% of these licenses have been implemented. He added that the authority has set up mechanisms to facilitate the implementation of projects with the aim of implementing at least 80% of the licenses issued by the authority within the next two years.
Al-Dabbagh noted that the General Investment Authority has provided the concerned international organizations, such as the World Bank and UNCTAD, with the results of the survey, since those organizations had been using inaccurate estimates about the flows of direct foreign investment. On the other hand, the results obtained through the survey provided figures that are three times those used by the organizations. This will reflect positively on their reports about the Kingdom”s competitiveness in attracting foreign investment in the near future. The General Investment Authority has also been designated as the party responsible for providing and publishing statistics related to foreign investments in Saudi Arabia. Although there have been foreign investments in Saudi Arabia for more than 40 years, it has not been possible to obtain accurate information concerning the size of foreign investments that are carried out on the ground in Saudi Arabia. The survey is considered the first specialized, official source of information about foreign investments in Saudi Arabia.