Diplomatic missions praise king for extending grace period

Updated 03 July 2013

Diplomatic missions praise king for extending grace period

The extension of the grace period till Nov. 3 has brought joy to expatriates residing in various cities across the Kingdom. Telephone and mobile lines were busy, as people called or texted the news to family and friends.
Consul generals across the spectrum of countries hailed the decision stating that it was a magnanimous and humanitarian gesture on the part of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. They, however, also voiced a word of caution that procedures need to be accelerated in the passport offices and deportation centers, or else the very purpose of the four-month extension would be defeated.
Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, terming the extension as a noble gesture, said, “India welcomes this humanitarian move from the Saudi government. Undocumented Indians in Saudi Arabia should avail of the opportunity at the earliest and not wait for the pace of work at passport offices to improve.”
Pakistan Consul General Aftab Ahmed Khokar said, “The decision reflects the humanitarian vision of King Abdullah. It is a second opportunity for illegal expatriates to leave or correct their status. Pakistan is thankful to Saudi Arabia for such great help.”
Appreciating the role played by the media and the Saudi business community through the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), he singled out JCCI Vice Chairman Mazen Batterjee for the role he played as a mediator between the expatriate communities and the Saudi authorities.
Bangladesh Consul General Mohammad Nazmul Islam described the announcement as happy news for every single expatriate in the Kingdom. “Bangladesh wishes to express its gratitude to King Abdullah as the entire expat community is pleased with the development. We at the consulate are also relieved since we now have some breathing space, and hope that progress at the passport offices will move at a brisk pace,” he said.
Sri Lankan Consul General Adambawa Uthumalebbe thanked King Abdullah and said, “I hope there will be a review of the processing in the Passport Offices since only 2,400 of the 9,657 applicants’ papers could be put in order for exit.”
Philippine Consul General Uriel Normal Garibay, expressing gratitude to King Abdullah, said, “It’s a relief for Filipino expatriates, we have 11,500 OFWs who want to correct their status, while another 6,000 wish to return home. In the first phase of the grace period, a majority of them couldn’t complete formalities in the passport offices. We hope there will be some changes to quicken the procedures, and we will also see how we can be of better service.”
Indonesian Consul General Nur Ibrahim said, “Indonesia is very happy with the extension of the grace period, and we hope that in the second phase, there would be an improvement in the functions of the deportation centers and passport offices. The Indonesian Consulate has received 84,000 applications, and this figure will go up after yesterday’s announcement.
Nepal Ambassador Uday Raj Pandey thanked King Abdullah and said, “The Nepalese Embassy is confident it will achieve its objectives now that the grace period has been further extended. I hope the passport authorities will also expedite the procedures to ensure that all goes smoothly during the extension period.”


Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

Updated 27 November 2020

Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

JEDDAH: The two-day Step Saudi 2020 event featured two prominent Saudi figures in the field of investment on the second day.
Hashim Al-Awadi, CEO of Tech Invest, and Salman Jaffery, chief investment officer at Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, both shared their expertise, with the latter saying it is more beneficial for corporations to start a venture capital (VC) arm than invest from their current mergers and acquisitions arm (M&A).
Managing partner at Class 5 Global, Zach Finkelstein, who moderated the session on the second day of the event, said the San Francisco-based venture fund invested in a number of companies in the Middle East.
“The Middle East is particularly interesting to us, and in the past, our partners have invested in such regional companies as Careem. We’re excited to explore the development of the corporate VC space and how it can impact places like Saudi Arabia,” he added.
When asked why a corporation should start a VC arm instead of investing from an M&A team, and why have a separate corporate Venture Capital arm in the first place, Jaffery answered that “it brings faster results.”
“I think the easiest answer to that is just speed and agility,” he said. “Getting that response quickly to the market. VC deals can take weeks or months whereas an M&A transaction can take up to a year or longer, and also similarly, if you’re trying to then come out of it, it’s harder to come out of a joint venture agreement or an M&A as opposed to a VC.”
Al-Awadi explained his opinion a traditional VC perspective, and said: “We like the fact that corporations can invest from both their M&A arms and their VC arms if they have them.”
He highlighted that VC arms can invest in a greater variety of companies. “You have the intelligence, you know the market and if you’re looking at specific technology where we don’t have a lot of expertise we trust that you (other venture capitalists) know the market and you can evaluate that technology better to see if it has the capability and potential for growth or not.
“Eventually, you do have an M&A arm that will provide an exit for us, for an incentive for this company to work hard to grasp the intention after having been invested in by the VC arm of this big corporate to maybe look into making a partial agreement or complete acquisition, which really adds an incentive for the company to grow and attracts other investors and also attracts talent to join the company and help it grow even more.”
He said both the VC and M&A arm are important for company growth. “We tend to look at corporate investors through both arms as complementary to what we do when we have both of them around.”
The Kingdom has obtained a high reputation among investors internationally through the years, especially after the economic and social reforms of Saudi Vision 2030.
Step Saudi is home to the Kingdom’s best entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and digital enthusiasts. The last edition of Step Saudi featured four content tracks, more than 100 startups and over 1,500 attendees.