‘Saudi Arabia moving fast toward achieving its Vision 2030 goals’

Dr. Ayedh bin Hadi Al-Otaibi, deputy governor of investment climate.
Updated 13 December 2018

‘Saudi Arabia moving fast toward achieving its Vision 2030 goals’

  • The SAGIA adopts strategies that are in accordance with Vision 2030 to support an investor’s journey within the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi economy is standing strong and it is supported by a competitive environment, said a senior official of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
Dr. Ayedh bin Hadi Al-Otaibi, deputy governor of investment climate, was speaking at the Sixth Saudi Trade Finance Summit, which began on Wednesday in Riyadh.
Al-Otaibi delivered a speech on “Unlocking the potential of the Arab world’s largest economy” in which he reviewed the objectives and role of SAGIA with a particular reference to Vision 2030.
The SAGIA official also highlighted the recently introduced reforms in the investment environment to support the business sector in the Kingdom.
Al-Otaibi said Saudi Arabia is moving rapidly toward achieving its goals as envisaged in Vision 2030. The goals, he added, include an increase in foreign direct investment in the Kingdom, diversification of sources of income and leveraging its unique attributes as the heart of the Islamic world and the link between three continents.
The official said the Kingdom is taking all steps to make small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the main engine for economic development in the Kingdom.
Due to the recent measures and reforms the SMEs in the Kingdom are witnessing a spurt in growth and job creation, he added.
SMEs are considered a key partner in the development of Saudi Arabia.
One of the important actions in supporting these companies is the establishment of the General Authority for SMEs (Monshaat), which aims to increase the contribution of such businesses in the economy. Monshaat aspires to contribute to innovation, facilitate funding and create jobs for Saudi males and females.
The government has put in place stimulus packages of up to SR200 billion ($53 billion) until 2020 under the Fiscal Balance Program, one of the central initiatives for realizing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reforms.
The PIF, the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, has also supported the sector by setting up a SR4 billion fund ($1 billion) that will give SMEs access to capital. The “fund of funds,” as it is known, will invest in venture capital and private equity funds targeting the SME sector.
A privatization program also encourages the private sector to own or manage state-owned assets and to take over public services currently provided directly by the government.
SMEs are important to all economies around the world and will specifically play a major role in the non-oil-reliant Saudi economy. SMEs contribute to the economy by generating employment opportunities for the Saudi people and fostering economic empowerment for the youth and women. This will help in achieving the Vision 2030 goals of decreasing unemployment from 11.6 percent to 7 percent and increasing female participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent.
The SAGIA adopts strategies that are in accordance with Vision 2030 to support an investor’s journey within the Kingdom.
It also promotes a business environment based on customer service by measuring the satisfaction of investors with the services offered to them.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.