Kingdom executes $300bn worth of projects defying regional recession

The presentation organized by the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs (GESALO) in Riyadh.
Updated 28 September 2016
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Kingdom executes $300bn worth of projects defying regional recession

RIYADH: Defying the global and regional trends of recession, Saudi Arabia is currently executing projects worth $300 billion, said Fahad Mohammed Al-Hammady, chairman of the National Committee for Contractors at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC).
The Saudi government is also supporting several projects, while it is reviewing a large number of projects also.
“Whatever the case may be, a better future for construction section is anticipated,” said Al-Hammady, while speaking at a presentation organized by the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs (GESALO) in Riyadh.
The event was organized in cooperation with the CSC and the Germany’s Messe Munchen to introduce the world’s leading trade fair for architecture, materials and systems called ‘BAU Trade Fair’.
This trade fair, to be attended by a large number of Saudi exhibitors and visitors, will be held in the German city of Munich from Jan. 16 to 21.
A German delegation led by Mirko Arend, deputy director of Germany-based Messe Munchen and Oliver Oehms, Gesalo delegate, made the presentation.
Mark Pey, the newly-appointed general manager for Lufthansa, spoke about the airline’s services.
Referring to the current situation of the construction and contracting sector, Al-Hammady said that “the situation will become better in near future.”
Al-Hammady said that he looks forward for cooperation between the Kingdom and Germany in construction sector within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030.
Despite the regional economic recession, the spending on projects are still continuing in the Gulf states including the Kingdom, he added.
In fact, the GCC’s construction community should expect that the construction business will bounce back in 2017.
This view has also been supported by Ben Hughes, director of capital projects at Deloitte Middle East, according to a report.
Hughes also noted that the region is tracking comparatively well with the relatively buoyant US economy.
“Clearly, there’s been a slowdown of project awards across the Gulf, and that’s a result of governments undertaking spending reviews,” Hughes has been quoted as saying.
In his presentation, Arend also spoke about the construction sector in his country, and made comparison between the Kingdom and Germany.

German BAU fair

Oehms, on his part, also gave details of the German BAU fair that will present “practice-oriented innovations and interdisciplinary solutions for commercial and residential construction and interior work for both new-buildings and renovation.”
Referring to Lufthansa operations on Saudi-German sector, Mark said: “Lufthansa German Airlines operates 24 weekly flights from Saudi Arabia providing a seamless connection between the key cities of the Kingdom and the airline’s hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.”
With these convenient connections, Lufthansa continues its long standing tradition of facilitating the closest of ties between the business communities of Germany and Saudi Arabia, he added.
Operating from Frankfurt and Munich, Europe’s most punctual hubs, Lufthansa offers business and leisure travelers from the Kingdom a global network with over 200 destinations in 76 countries.
Passengers from the Kingdom will find seamless connections throughout the Lufthansa network including those to the US and Canada with 20 destinations offered from Frankfurt, making Lufthansa the leader in linking the Middle East with the North Atlantic’s most important financial centers.


Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

Updated 24 May 2019
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Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

  • Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors
  • After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers said they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies

NEW DELHI: Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year.
Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon.com , Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring.
India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook Inc, and its subsidiary, WhatsApp.
But from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections.

Opinion

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“I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms.
“Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predictability, this has sent a worrying message to global investors.”
India stuck to its policies despite protests and aggressive lobbying by the United States government, US-India trade bodies and companies themselves.
Small hurdles
Modi was set to hold talks on Friday to form a new cabinet after election panel data showed his Bharatiya Janata Party had won 302 of the 542 seats at stake and was leading in one more, up from the 282 it won in 2014.
After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers told Reuters they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies.
Other investors hope the government will avoid sudden policy changes on investment and regulation that catch them off guard and prove very costly, urging instead industry-wide consultation that permits time to prepare.
Protectionism concerns “are small hurdles you have to go through,” however, said Prem Watsa, the chairman of Canadian diversified investment firm Fairfax Financial, which has investments of $5 billion in India.
“There will be more business-friendly policies and more private enterprise coming into India,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Tech, healthcare and beyond
Among the firms looking for more friendly steps are global payments companies that had benefited since 2016 from Modi’s push for electronic payments instead of cash.
Last year, however, firms such as Mastercard and Visa were asked to store more of their data in India, to allow “unfettered supervisory access,” a change that prompted WhatsApp to delay plans for a payments service.
Modi’s government has also drafted a law to clamp similar stringent data norms on the entire sector.
But abrupt changes to rules on foreign investment in e-commerce stoked alarm at firms such as Amazon, which saw India operations disrupted briefly in February, and Walmart, just months after it invested $16 billion in India’s Flipkart.
Policy changes also hurt foreign players in the $5-billion medical device industry, such as Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson, following 2017 price caps on products such as heart stents and knee implants.
Modi’s government said the move aimed to help poor patients and curb profiteering, but the US government and lobby groups said it harmed innovation, profits and investment plans.
“If foreign companies see their future in this country on a long-term basis...they will have to look at the interests of the people,” Ashwani MaHajjan, an official of a nationalist group that pushed for some of the measures, told Reuters.
That view was echoed this week by two policymakers who said government policies will focus on strengthening India’s own companies, while providing foreign players with adequate opportunities for growth.
Such comments worry foreign executives who fear Modi is not about to change his protectionist stance in a hurry, with one offical of a US tech firm saying, “I’d rather be more worried than be optimistic.”