Saudi investment authority awards licenses to 10 UK firms

AstraZeneca was one of 10 companies granted Saudi investment licenses by SAGIA. (Reuters)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Saudi investment authority awards licenses to 10 UK firms

DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) on Friday announced that 10 UK businesses have been granted Saudi investment licenses — enabling them to establish operations in the Kingdom or expand their existing presence.
The 10 companies include AstraZeneca, Unipart Rail, ARC Middle East, Dudley College of Technology, Mott MacDonald Middle East, Standard & Poor’s Credit Market and MEMF REPL Cable Accessories.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, said: “The unprecedented program of reforms being implemented in Saudi Arabia is unlocking an exciting range of opportunities for investors in the Middle East’s largest economy.”
He added: “One of SAGIA’s strategic goals is to act as an advocate for investors and enable them to invest and establish their businesses in Saudi Arabia and in its efforts to ease licenses procedures, SAGIA has extended the license period for foreign investment from one year to a period of up to five years, renewable.
AstraZeneca said: “Since 1980, AstraZeneca Saudi Arabia has been committed to improve patients’ access to innovative medicines across the Kingdom, and we believe that the Kingdom’s medical needs and increasing openness to international investment mean there are considerable opportunities in the sector.”
The announcement was made as the visit to the UK by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman drew to a close.
Britain and Saudi Arabia earlier set out an ambition to build £65 billion ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties in coming years, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said on Wednesday, calling the agreement a vote of confidence in the British economy ahead of Brexit.


Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

Updated 12 min 30 sec ago
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Filipino remittances from the Middle East down 15.3% in 2018

  • Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion previously
  • Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption

DUBAI: Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East went down 15.3 percent to $6.62 billion in 2018 from $7.81 billion a year earlier, latest government data shows.
Lower crude prices, which affected most OFW host countries in the region, the job nationalization schemes of Gulf states and a deployment ban last year of household service workers to Kuwait were the primary reasons for the decline, a reversal from the 3.4 percent remittance growth recorded in 2017.
A government study has noted that Saudi Arabia was the leading country of destination for OFWs, with more than a quarter of Filipinos being deployed there at any given time, together with the United Arab Emirates (15.3 percent), Kuwait (6.7 percent) and Qatar (5.5 percent).
Cash remittances from OFWs in Saudi Arabia fell 11.1 percent last year to $2.23 billion from $2.51 billion a year before; down 19.9 percent to $2.03 billion in the UAE from $2.54 billion in 2017; 14.5 percent lower in Kuwait to $689.61 million from $806.48 million and 9.2 percent down in Qatar to $1 billion in 2018, from $1.1 billion a year earlier.
The Philippine government issued a deployment ban for Kuwait early last year, and lasted for five months, after a string of reported deaths and abuses on Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
OFW remittances from Oman, which implemented a job nationalization program like that of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, dove 33.8 percent to $228.74 million in 2018 from $345.41 million a year before. In Bahrain, cash sent by Filipinos rose 2.2 percent to $234.14 million last year from $229.02 million previously.
Meanwhile, overall OFW remittances grew 3 percent year-on-year to $32.2 billion, the highest annual level to date.
“The growth in personal remittances during the year was driven by remittance inflows from land-based OFs with work contracts of one year or more and remittances from both sea-based and land-based OFs with work contracts of less than one year,” the Philippine central monetary authority said.
Personal remittances are a major driver of domestic consumption and in 2018 accounted for 9.7 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product.