Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has issued 350 project licenses in 2014, valued at SAR24.9 billion, reports Saudi-based Aleqtisadiah.
This represents an increase by 66 per cent, compared with 118 licenses in 2013, valued at SAR36.8bn, which means the value of those projects has fallen by nearly 33 per cent.
The service sector topped the list of the highest number of licenses according to the type of activity, with 263 licenses, valued at SAR6bn, followed by the industrial sector with 55 licenses, valued at SAR18.2bn, then the commercial sector with 29 licenses, valued at SAR435 million, and finally the real estate sector with two projects, valued at SAR100m.
In terms of the distribution of licenses issued in accordance with the legal entity, 222 of the licenses were granted to independent and new companies, while branches of foreign companies accounted for 132 licenses.
SAGIA states the business centers, which include representatives of government-related agencies, provided many services to the investors, including data processing, developing a strategy to collect data from the investor and the launch of trading paperless initiative, which resulted in the speed of delivery.
Governor of the Authority, Abdullatif Al-Othman says: “The total value of FDI in the kingdom amounted to almost $208bn by the end of 2014,” pointing to the increase in general government spending in the kingdom reaching $300bn in 2014, and it is natural to be associated with such huge economic activity and major investment opportunities.
Moreover, in what could be seen as a landmark investment decision in the region, the oil-rich kingdom will be soon opening its capital markets to full-blown foreign participation this year.
The move is expected to lure big global investors to actively take part in the region’s biggest stock market as well as the economy.
With a market capitalization of $430bn, the Tadawul exchange is worth approximately the same as all other GCC regional markets combined.