Saudi Kingdom ‘lucrative market for Russians’

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JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has over 100 investment opportunities in 18 sectors worth $344 billion, said Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), at a meeting with Russian businesspeople in St. Petersburg.

Al-Othman, in a speech at the Saudi-Russian Business Council meeting, said that strengthening trade ties between the two countries would see mutual economic growth, the SPA reported.
He said the two countries are in an ideal position as members of the G-20 to add value to their relationship. Saudi Arabia continues to make great strides on the economic front, he said.
Quoting from the speech delivered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman when he ascended the throne, Al-Othman said the monarch committed the government to diversifying the economy, increasing its income and savings, creating jobs and establishing a conducive environment for investors.
He said the Kingdom is the largest economy in the region and one of the three fastest-growing countries in the G-20. It has an economy worth $746 billion, with a 6 percent growth rate over the past 10 years.
Al-Othman said that the Kingdom has an advanced financial system and a well-developed infrastructure that was being constantly upgraded. It was also blessed with an ideal geographic location, politically stable and has introduced policies to grow the private sector. He told the forum that investors are guaranteed energy and land at reasonable prices, and access to easy financing from several government funds.
Financial support was also given for training and employment of Saudi citizens, and there was preferential treatment in bidding for government projects.
The Kingdom allows foreign companies to own 100 percent in all sectors except a few where a local partner is required, such as financial services, telecommunications, professional consultancy services, and wholesale and retail trade. Investors would enjoy no income tax, value-added tax, sales tax, or property tax, and have a competitive 20 percent corporate tax rate.
He said that other advantages for foreign investors include the right to repatriate all profits and dividends. Investors would also get access to SAGIA’s full range of services.
“The Kingdom has many huge economic projects underway, which are serving as an engine for all round development across the country, not only the big cities.” He said foreign investment inflows have totaled $208 billion, at an annual rate of between $10 and $15 billion.
“These investments were concentrated in the energy, petrochemical and construction sectors. However, we are striving to double the investments by taking advantage of growth in new sectors, such as health, transport, tourism, and information technology.”
He said a new application ‘INVEST in Saudi’ has been launched on smart devices supplying a comprehensive description of investment opportunities in the Kingdom.

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