How to start a business in Saudi Arabia

Construction in the King Abdullah financial district in Riyadh. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 April 2018
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How to start a business in Saudi Arabia

  • SAGIA has a broad mandate on all matters relating to foreign investments in industry, services, agriculture, and contracting.
  • According to PwC, SAGIA will license projects under the new Foreign Investment Act, which allows for 100 percent foreign ownership in some sectors.
London: The time taken to process business licenses in Saudi Arabia has been slashed by more than 92 percent in a bid to encourage further investment in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has cut the processing time from about 53 hours to four hours, according to a statement by the agency in January.
Companies and businesses previously had to submit eight documents to the investment authority for licenses to be issued, but now need to present only financial statements and certified commercial registration.
Renewal of investment licenses can be done online through a self-service portal on the SAGIA website.
According to PwC, SAGIA will license projects under the new Foreign Investment Act, which allows for 100 percent foreign ownership in some sectors. In addition, foreign investors can open sales, marketing and administration offices to complement industrial or non-industrial projects.
SAGIA has a broad mandate on all matters relating to foreign investments in industry, services, agriculture, and contracting.
The Saudi Companies Law, which came into effect in 2016, is the principal legis-lation that governs the conduct of companies in the Kingdom.
PwC said SAGIA offers a number of incentives to attract investors, including 100 percent foreign ownership of property and companies in certain industries; lower minimum capital requirements and no restriction on repatriation of capital; the ability for foreign investors to sponsor foreign employees; and tax incentives if the company is registered in certain economic cities in less-developed provinces.
There are virtually no currency exchange restrictions in KSA. Payments abroad may be made freely, and there are no taxes or subsidies on purchases or sales of foreign currency, said PwC.


Oman advises Dhofar businesses to close after Cyclone Mekunu hits

Updated 27 May 2018
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Oman advises Dhofar businesses to close after Cyclone Mekunu hits

DUBAI: Oman has advised all private sector establishments in Dhofar region to shut down for three days after Cyclone Mekunu hit the southern part of the Gulf Arab country.
The labor ministry declared a three-day holiday for companies and establishments in the private sector, state news agency ONA reported on Sunday.
The central bank issued a circular announcing a three-day holiday starting on Sunday for money exchange houses, banks, finance and leasing companies in Dhofar.
Cyclone Mekunu hit southern Yemen and the coast of neighboring Oman over the weekend, resulting in several fatalities.
Sembcorp Salalah Water and Power Co, which operates an electricity generation and seawater desalination plant in Oman, said its water production plant had been shut down temporarily because of rough seas because of a tropical storm.