Commercial registrations in Madinah grew 12.1% in 2023 Q4

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RIYADH: Saudi business landscape received a regulatory push as the Kingdom’s Ministry of Investment launched a new initiative to take inventory of private sector direct expenditures abroad. 

This move is part of a broader effort to support investors and companies in their global expansion endeavors, particularly in concluding bilateral investment agreements, according to a report carried by a section of the local press.

Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih stated that the ministry is focused on regulating and developing both domestic and foreign investment, promoting its components, and safeguarding investors.

“The ministry has the right — without prejudice to the competencies and responsibilities of other bodies — to do whatever is necessary in order to achieve its objectives, including establishing a database of investment and its indicators in the Kingdom to be a unified platform and main reference for information related to the ministry’s competencies, and coordinating with the relevant authorities to provide them with relevant information, data and reports with the aim of providing the necessary support to investors,” said Al-Falih. 

He highlighted the crucial role of private sector participation in this survey, noting that their involvement is instrumental in shaping future policies, identifying opportunities, and bolstering Saudi Arabia’s position as a global economic powerhouse.

As part of this initiative, the ministry has prepared a detailed questionnaire to record the direct investments of private sector companies abroad. 

This questionnaire seeks information on various aspects, including the company’s name, the year investment began and the country and city of investment as well as the sector name, the value of the investment in dollars, the percentage of partnership or ownership, and additional notes about foreign investments.

This strategic move by the ministry is part of the Saudi Arabia’s broader efforts to diversify its economy and strengthen its global economic presence. 

It aims to fortify the Kingdom’s commitment to enabling its private sector to explore and harness international investment opportunities, aligning with its broader economic goals and vision.

The ministry has shown a strong obligation to empowering the business landscape in the Kingdom through various initiatives. Among its most notable efforts is the regional headquarters establishment initiative which has broken targets.

Al-Falih, in an interview with Bloomberg in November 2023, stated that the number of licenses issued to companies for the establishment of their regional headquarters surpassed the Kingdom’s target of 160 by the year end. 

Over 200 international firms from various sectors, including energy, technology, health care, and hospitality, have now set up bases in Riyadh, he added. 

Notable firms that relocated to the Kingdom include Northern Trust, Bechtel, and Pepsico from the US, and IHG Hotels and Resorts, PwC, and Deloitte from the UK.