JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense is to strengthen partnerships with local factories to ensure they are involved in ministry projects, a government official said Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Atiyah Al-Malki, from the Defense Ministry, was speaking at a specialist conference focusing on the Kingdom’s potential as a leading industrial power and global logistics platform.
He told delegates that there was no clear plan to make deals with local factories and, for that reason, the ministry had set up committees to link its demands with what local factories could produce.
“Following the announcement of the Saudi Vision 2030 (reform plan), the Ministry of Defense has revised its regulations and policies to support our local industry. Currently, foreign investors could make deals with the ministry only if they committed to localization rules. They are being asked about the local factories they will work with and the local products they will get.
“We have factories that can produce high quality, competitive products as those that can be imported. Their prices of these products are also competitive.”
Saudi Arabia wants to manufacture half of its military needs within the Kingdom to create more job opportunities for locals and keep more resources in the country.
Although the Kingdom is the world’s third biggest military spender, just 2 percent of its spending is within Saudi Arabia, according to the reform plan. “The national defense industrial sector is limited to only seven companies and two research centers. Our aim is to localize over 50 percent of military equipment spending by 2030,” it says.
Al-Malki said that local factories, of which there are an estimated 600, had produced around 350 million parts to international standards.