Saudi Arabia to supply more housing units to support needy families in 2021, says finance ministry

Saudi Arabia to supply more housing units to support needy families in 2021, says finance ministry
Above, a new housing project under construction in Riyadh. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 16 December 2020

Saudi Arabia to supply more housing units to support needy families in 2021, says finance ministry

Saudi Arabia to supply more housing units to support needy families in 2021, says finance ministry
  • The targets include providing usufruct housing to the most-needy families

The Kingdom’s housing targets for 2021 include continuing to pump more units from off-plan sales to the beneficiaries of Sakani program, the Saudi Ministry of Finance said in the 2021 budget statement.

The targets include providing usufruct housing to the most-needy families, and stimulating factories producing housing units to attract modern and futuristic building technologies in order to raise production capacity, reduce costs and raise quality.

The Ministry of Housing also targets developing mechanisms to regulate the off-plan sale market with the aim of increasing the number of real estate units for the sale and leasing system; protecting the rights of beneficiaries, investors, and developers; and providing support for those who have failed to repay subsidized housing finance installments for those undergoing exceptional, temporary circumstances that are expected to disappear.

This is in addition to continuing to provide financial support for the beneficiaries of the Ministry of Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund to support financing profits at a maximum of SR500,000 ($489,666) for the beneficiary families.

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ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees
Updated 39 sec ago

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

RIYADH: The Saudi Industrial Development Fund on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Paris-based ENGIE to provide training to the fund’s employees, the SIDF tweeted.

Under the deal, the French multinational utility company will train the fund’s employees at its headquarters in Paris. The SIDF employees will receive training in business development, commercial activities, and project implementation. 

ENGIE operates in the fields of energy, transition, electricity generation and distributions.  


Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car
Updated 14 min 58 sec ago

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

RIYADH: Developmental Opportunities Trading Co. sold its 21percent shares in Theeb Rent a Car Co. to institutional investors, Al-Arabiya reported on Tuesday.

EFG Hermes and Saudi Fransi Capital, in their capacity as bookrunners and brokers, executed the sale for the trading company.

According to a joint press statement, the total number of offered and sold shares reached 9,030,000.

The shares were offered to a group of institutional investors, and they were implemented through 19 negotiated deals at a price of SR53 per share, so that the value of the deal amounted to SR478.6 million ($127.57 million).


Gold miners keen on going green

Gold miners keen on going green
Updated 30 November 2021

Gold miners keen on going green

Gold miners keen on going green
  • In eight countries gold mining firms account for more than 5% of all government income



LONDON: The gold mining industry is keen to show off its green credentials.
The World Gold Council has revealed that of the $60.1 billion its 33 members generated in revenue in 38 countries around the world last year, 63 percent, or $37.9 billion of it remained in the nations where the mining operations were based.
The trade body, whose members account for around 40 percent of the global output, pointed out that in five countries the industry supported more than 3 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, roughly the size of internationally recognized overseas development assistance levels.
In eight countries gold mining firms accounted for more than 5 percent of all government income, the association said in a recent report titled, “The Social and Economic Contribution of Gold Mining.”
WGC Chief Financial Officer Terry Heymann said in an interview: “In Suriname the contribution is as high as 16.3 percent, Malawi its 8 percent and 6.6 percent in Burkina Faso.
“These contributions come as tax. But they also come in the form of new roads built into the site, or energy sources to power it, which can be more than the mine needs. The surplus energy is then pumped into the local community.”
One council member, Canada’s Barrick Gold, uses hydroelectric power plants at its Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which it shares with residents of the African country’s northeastern province Haut-Uele.
In Burkina Faso, UK-based Nordgold powers its Bassi and Bouly mines with solar power, which also supplies the local towns and villages in the Centre-Nord region.
“Mines often help fund schools, hospitals and health clinics, because a site needs a healthy and educated workforce,” Heymann added.
The WGC report added: “Host nations and communities might therefore come to regard responsible and sustainable gold mining operations as representing of a ‘window of opportunity’ for development.”
Such windows can last for sustained periods. It can take a decade to fully explore a mining site, and five years to build, with a lifecycle of 30 to 50 years.
However, the world’s biggest producers of the precious yellow metal are mature countries that do not rely on its production for development.
China is currently the world’s largest miner, producing around 368.3 tons last year, followed by Russia with 331.1 tons, Australia with 327.8 tons and the US with 190.2 tons.
Gold production was not greatly affected by the coronavirus disease hitting 3,400.8 tons last year, just 4 percent down on 2019.
In the third quarter of this year, gold production increased 4 percent year-on-year to 960 tons, the largest quarterly production level on record and 3 percent higher than the same period in 2019.
Gold demand jumped by almost 25 percent last year, rising above $2,000 an ounce for the first time last August, as investors looked for a safe haven during the pandemic.
But the metal has given back those gains as the health crisis shows signs of easing, despite the emergence of the omicron COVID-19 variant, and is just under 6 percent lower than it was 12 months ago at around $1,793 an ounce.
Analysts are split on whether gold will jump to $3,000 an ounce in 2022. Some predict a rise due to persistent negative real interest rates, inflationary pressures and US dollar weakness as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Others believe its price could fall to around $1,700 an ounce next year, due to rising supply and an easing of political tensions between China and the US as the health crisis subsides.
Heymann noted that gold remained a store of value, particularly when compared with newer digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and ether, that have grabbed headlines in the financial press in recent years.
He said: “There is a place in investors’ portfolios for gold. It is a stable long-term store of value, the pandemic has shown that. It is very liquid, it’s a physical asset, you know exactly what it is. And it’s a market that has been around for thousands of years.”


Saudi Exchange’s Tadawul almost flat as omicron fears persist

Saudi Exchange’s Tadawul almost flat as omicron fears persist
Updated 30 November 2021

Saudi Exchange’s Tadawul almost flat as omicron fears persist

Saudi Exchange’s Tadawul almost flat as omicron fears persist

Saudi Arabia's stock market closed almost flat on Tuesday as concerns about the new omicron COVID-19 strain persisted.

The main stock index, TASI was down very slightly 0.45 percent, reaching 10,761.80 points at the closing bell.

Saudi’s parallel market Nomu was up slightly, by 0.87 percent at the end of the trading session.

Industrials Albaha and Saydan were among the top gainers, up 10 percent and 9.98 percent respectively.

With a share price decline of around 4 percent, Enaya and Amana Insurance were the lowest-performing stocks. 


Foreign investments to Saudi Arabia’s IT market hit $2.13bn

Foreign investments to Saudi Arabia’s IT market hit $2.13bn
Updated 30 November 2021

Foreign investments to Saudi Arabia’s IT market hit $2.13bn

Foreign investments to Saudi Arabia’s IT market hit $2.13bn

More than SR8 billion ($2.13 billion) of foreign investment has poured into Saudi Arabia’s IT market, Assistant Minister Munir El-Desouki has revealed.

Speaking as part of a virtual Fintech tour, El-Desouki argued the telecom sector in the Kingdom is also now becoming attractive to outside investors.

“With the unlimited support it received from our government and in partnership with the private sector, we were able to jump the Kingdom’s ranking in internet speeds from the 105th to the 6th globally,” he said.

“We invested in minds to bridge the digital skills gap. We trained more than 55,000 male and female trainees in qualitative digital skills, as part of the Future Skills initiative,” he added.

El-Desouki said the ministry has helped increase the Saudization rate in the sector to 58 percent, and has also seen the participation rate of women rise from 7 percent in 2017 to 28 percent.

The ministry launched the National Information Technology Development Program with a budget of SR25 billion to strengthen the telecom system, increase its effectiveness, and ensure its sustainability.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is determined to raise the contribution of the digital economy to the Kingdom’s domestic product, Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haytham Al-Ohali said.

He added that the ministry actively contributes with their partners in the government and private sectors to the development of the financial technology market.