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.


Saudi Arabia and UAE launch a new joint cryptocurrency

Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia and UAE launch a new joint cryptocurrency

  • The cryptocurrency will be limited to banks during its first stages
  • The program will also help the two countries evaluate the monetary policies of a centralized currency

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have launched a joint cryptocurrency during the first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination council Saturday in Abu Dhabi, UAE’s national press agency WAM said.

The cryptocurrency will be limited to banks during its first stages, until the governments have a better understanding of how Blockchain technology operates cross-borders.

The currency operates on the use of a “distributed database between the central banks and the participating banks from both sides,” aiming to protect customer interests, set technology standards and assess cybersecurity risks. The new program will also help evaluate the impacts of a central currency on monetary policies.

During the meeting, representatives of Saudi Arabia and the UAE also signed the Joint Supply Chained Security Cooperation program, which tests the two countries abilities to provide vital supplies during times of crisis and national emergencies, as well as share expertise and knowledge in the field.

All 16 members of the executive committee of the council followed up on the execution of the initiatives mentioned in the Strategy of Resolve.

Representatives also set five other initiatives to enhance the cooperation between the two countries, such as facilitating the traffic between ports, improving airports to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel, creating a financial awareness program for children aged 7-18, starting a joint platform to support local SMEs, and the integration of civil aviation markets,

The committee was headed by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Gergawi, minister of cabinet of affairs and the future of UAE, and Mohammed bin Mazyad Al-Twaijri, minister of economy and planning in Saudi. The committee will also monitor the implementation of the initiatives.