Saudi Arabia unveils new measures to support mining, industry

(Reuters)
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Updated 06 May 2020

Saudi Arabia unveils new measures to support mining, industry

  • Ministry fees will be reduced and licenses automatically renewed to limit coronavirus impact

LONDON: Saudi Arabia will defer loan payments in the industrial and mining sectors as part of a raft of new measures aimed at reducing the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Under the mandate of a royal decree, the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources launched 27 measures which also included developing new products to support working capital, reducing ministry fees and the automatic renewal of various licenses.

“These newly launched measures provide different layers of support toward sustaining operations within the industrial and mining sectors,” said a government statement.

Electricity bills will also be slashed by 30 percent and payment terms extended.

Significantly, the new support measures also include a plan to speed up local content requirements for companies that have 51 percent ownership by the Public Investment Fund. Some SR50 billion ($13.29 billion) has been allocated “to facilitate the settlements of the private sector dues,” the statement said.

Private sector companies will also be able to benefit from reduced interest rate loans and payment deferrals for 2020.

The measures also extend to taxation with the submission and payment of tax declarations suspended.

The plan comes as Gulf economies come under intense economic pressure from the double whammy of the pandemic and weaker oil prices.

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector shrank for the second consecutive month in April according to Purchasing Managers’ Index data released on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) nudged up to 44.4 in April from 42.4 in March. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction while above indicates expansion.

“Saudi Arabian private sector output fell at the fastest pace since the survey began more than a decade ago, reflecting widespread business closures and a sharp reduction in customer demand,” said Tim Moore, economics director at IHS Markit.


Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

Updated 23 October 2020

Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

  • Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund

TOKYO/DUBAI: SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son said on Thursday the sale of chip designer Arm to Nvidia Corp. will drive growth in computing power, in his first public comments since the $40 billion deal was announced in September.
Son made the comments at a virtual summit about artificial intelligence hosted by Saudi Arabia, an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund, at which he reiterated his belief that AI would transform society.
The Nvidia deal, part of a series of asset sales by Son, whose group has been shaken by soured investments and the COVID-19 pandemic, has raised concerns it will threaten Arm’s role as a neutral supplier in the industry.
Son is set to speak next week with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at SoftBank World, the group’s annual event for customers and suppliers that is being retooled as it focuses on investing.
SoftBank’s growing cash pile is driving speculation about future investment plans, with the Vision Fund targeting external funding for a blank-check company, a source said, in a sign the group is regaining its mojo.
“I am a risk taker,” Son said on Thursday.
Rajeev Misra, CEO of SoftBank Investment Advisers which oversees the Vision Fund, said the market share gained by online commerce companies in the last six to eight months is more than what they gained in the previous four years put together.
“COVID has accelerated the acceleration of AI even further,” Misra told the same conference, adding in the 105 companies Vision Fund 1 and 2 have invested in, artificial intelligence is the core of their businesses.