SAGIA to remove obstacles for private sector

Updated 26 January 2016

SAGIA to remove obstacles for private sector

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) will introduce many policies and procedures in the future to promote economic activities for privatization and to overcome legislative, regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles facing the private sector, said SAGIA Gov. Abdullatif Al-Othman.
The governor was speaking while inaugurating the 9th Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) in Riyadh on Sunday. More than 2,500 local and foreign delegates from all parts of the world are attending GCF 2016.
Featuring over 80 international speakers, the forum brings together global business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists to network and discuss the positive impact organizational and national competitiveness can have on local, regional, global economic and social development.
The speakers listed during the conference include Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, Health Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih, Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Education Minister Ahmad Al-Issa and Housing Minister Majed Al-Hogail.
“It goes without saying that these steps will contribute to support the economy of Saudi Arabia, which occupies a prominent position among the Top 20 economies of the world,” he said.

“It is the largest economy in the Middle East and the fourth-fastest growing economy in the G20 after India, China and Indonesia.”
He said the investment plan for health care provides promising investment opportunities valued at SR40 million. He also pointed out that the investment in the education sector plan offers opportunities worth SR25 million.
Al-Othman said the forum will focus on “competitive sectors” as theme and will shed light on the ingredients that are essential in driving the competitiveness of sectors, the strategies that governments should follow to accelerate competitiveness and, most important, the role of competitive sectors in maintaining a sustainable economic growth.
The forum will draw focus on the priority sectors that have been identified to have a direct impact on economic and human development; sectors such as health care and life sciences, transport, education, ICT and services sector, such as tourism, financial services, real estate and professional consulting.
Al-Othman recalled that the forum is being held at a time when the Kingdom is celebrating the first anniversary of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s accession the throne. “We have witnessed tremendous developments during this short period,” he said.

Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 15 February 2019

Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”