4-point program to scale up Kingdom’s privatization drive

4-point program to scale up Kingdom’s privatization drive
Updated 06 March 2016

4-point program to scale up Kingdom’s privatization drive

4-point program to scale up Kingdom’s privatization drive

Saudi Arabia is at an important juncture as it pursues a path of economic diversification of its economy.
The government is planning wide ranging reforms and institutional changes to provide impetus to PPP in the Kingdom.
It intends to open up multiple sectors of the economy including airports, municipalities, health care and education for greater private sector participation.
The Economist Intelligence Unit categorizes the PPP preparedness of countries on a 4-level maturity profile — nascent, emerging, developed and mature.
Saudi Arabia could probably be categorized as close to emerging at this point of its transformation journey.
The Kingdom is starting its journey in a weak global macro-economic environment, with slowing global growth and a real risk of global recession.
However, while global demand for infrastructure is growing, with an estimated $57 trillion of additional investment required by 2030, there is no sufficient pipeline of “investable” infrastructure projects.
Governments need to unclog this pipeline, even as new countries including Saudi Arabia are looking to attract global investors.
The Kingdom can do the following 4 things, learning from experiences of countries such India, to scale up its PPP program fairly quickly.

First, institute a comprehensive PPP program which includes an enabling policy and regulatory framework rather than a transaction to transaction approach, which may not scale. In this context consider enacting a PPP law as has been done in several countries including in Middle East.

Second, strengthen institutional capability for PPP. In this context, the Kingdom is doing the right thing by building capacity in the Ministry of Economics and Planning, which is the nodal agency coordinating privatization efforts. Learning from mature markets such as the UK , Australia and Canada, it can consider creating a center of excellence in PPP, on lines of the 3P organizations, to learn from best practices globally and within the Kingdom (eg Madinah Airport PPP) and transfer knowledge to other government departments as they move up the learning curve.

Third, “incubate” a pipeline of anchor PPP projects that are viable and can kick start the program. In structuring these projects ensure the risk sharing between the government and the private sector is appropriate. Do not transfer risk to the private sector that it can not manage. Remember the residual risk is always with the government when projects fail.

Finally, align interest of all stakeholders, viz. the public, government project proponents, private sector developers( domestic and foreign) and the financiers. Listen to the voice of the stakeholders and balance their interests in designing the PPP program and projects. Communicate the benefits of the program to the public throughout the process.

The Kingdom is embarking on an exciting journey of one of the most ambitious privatization programs globally. If it can execute well it can quickly transform its economy.

— Excerpts from a presentation made at last week’s Jeddah Economic Forum by Arvind Mahajan, partner, head of infrastructure and government services, KPMG Advisory Services in India.


Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
Updated 22 min 27 sec ago

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
  • Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem

RIYADH: Egyptian clothing manufacturers are being hammered by surging shipping costs.

Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem, a member of the Egyptian Exporters Association.

Fabrics from China account for most of the country’s clothing exports, he told Al Arabiya.
The cost of shipping a 40-feet container from Shanghai to an Egyptian port has rocketed to as much as $14,000 compared to $2,500 before the pandemic, he said.
That has led to increased competitive pressures for Egyptian textiles exporters from rivals in Asia.
He called on the state to intervene to help support the industry.


Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
Updated 28 min 33 sec ago

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
  • Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months

BENGALURU: ndian shares ended at record highs on Tuesday, as declining COVID-19 infections prompted many states to re-open businesses, with a rally in broader markets also helping the sentiment.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.36 percent to 15,869.25 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.42 percent to 52,773.05 at close.
Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months.
India on Tuesday reported 60,471 new infections, the lowest since March 31.
The sentiment also tracked global stocks that hit a record high, as investors bet likely “transitory” inflation pressures will restrain the US Federal Reserve from signalling a shift in policy settings.
Many investors expect the Fed to maintain its dovish stance at its two-day meeting starting on Tuesday. Some board members, however, have said the central bank should start discussing tapering its bond buying.
In Mumbai trading, financial stocks provided a boost to the Nifty 50, with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank ending 1.6 percent and 0.7 percent higher, respectively.
The Nifty Bank Index and the Nifty Private Bank Index, which have so far gained more than 0.55 percent this week, were among the top performers across sub-indexes rising between 0.85 percent and 1.07 percent.
Software services firm Infosys rose 0.8 percent, lifting the Nifty IT index by 0.23 percent.
Shares of Future Retail closed 10 percent higher, after staying at those levels since early trade.


Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
Updated 15 June 2021

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
  • It will open on July 3
  • The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan

DUBAI: The Saraya Aqaba Waterpark – billed as the biggest in Jordan – is opening its doors on July 3.
Located in the country’s only coastal city, Aqaba, the park spans an area of more than 28,500 square meters. It has rides, slides, as well as food and beverage stalls.
“At Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, guests from all around the world are in for an aquatic adventure like no other with slides, rides and experiences suitable for guests of all ages,” Chris Van Der Merwe, its general manager said in a statement.
The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan, and is operated by Abu Dhabi-based Farah Experience, which also handles Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Theme parks and other physical attractions have taken a hit when the pandemic forced countries to restrict people’s mobility, however some are now welcoming guests again as attractions make a gradual return.


Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers
  • Prices rose 5.3 percent the previous month according to data from the General Authority for Statistics

RIYADH: Saudi inflation rose for a second straight month as the consumer price index hit 5.7 percent.
Prices rose 5.3 percent the previous month according to data from the General Authority for Statistics.
The pickup in inflation highlighted the continuing impact of higher value added tax (VAT) which was increased to 15 percent in July 2020 from 5 percent before.
Transport prices also increased by 19.3 percent, led by the rising cost of buying a vehicle.
However food and beverage prices were the main driver in the rising cost of living, rising by 7.3 percent. Food represents a weighting of 17 percent in the Saudi consumer basket that economists use to measure the cost of living in the country.
“In particular, the increase in the prices of meat (6.8 percent) and vegetables (6.7 percent) was remarkable. Food prices were the main driver of the inflation rate in May 2021.” the authority said in a statement.
Food prices are accelerating across the Arab world with Egypt this week also reporting a pick-up in inflation to 4.8 percent year-on-year in May, up from 4.1 percent the previous month. It comes as the United Nations Food Agency predicts a double-digit spike in global food import costs this year.


Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow
  • Floranow describes itself as the MENA region’s first online B2B flower marketplace

DUBAI: Floranow, a Dubai-based B2B floral marketplace said it acquired the distribution business of Saudi Arabia’s Astra Farms
Floranow describes itself as the MENA region’s first online B2B flower marketplace, connecting global producers of flowers and plants to regional and international buyers, including florists, hotels, event planners and supermarkets.
Astra Farm is the Middle East’s largest producer of cut flowers and runs an extensive distribution network across the Kingdom.
“It will enable us to help the Saudi floriculture sector innovate and thrive via the use of amazing technology and world-class, cool-chain logistics,” said Charif Mzayek, Floranow’s founder and CEO.
The company said the deal will disrupt the Kingdom’s floral industry by introducing innovative technology to an otherwise traditional sector.
The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.