RIYADH: Further details have emerged regarding plans by the Saudi Cabinet to privatize 16 key industries, in a move intending to boost private sector involvement in the development of the Kingdom’s economy.
Part of the country’s new Private Sector Participation (PSP) program, the initiative was announced on Wednesday by Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who chairs both the privatization program committee and board of the National Center for Privatization (NCP).
Hani Alsaigh, Director General of Strategic Communication and Marketing at the National Privatization Center (NCP), gave Arab News more detail about the sectors that stand to benefit from the new Private Sector Participation (PSP) Law.
The 16 main sectors targeted for privatization are: environment, water and agricultural, transportation, energy, industry and mineral wealth, labor and social development, housing, education, health, municipalities, Hajj and Umrah, communications and information technology, media, sports, interior and finance.
“We are working with all the sectors targeted for privatization… Several projects have been recently selected and launched in the sectors of health, education, transport, municipalities, environment, water and agriculture and human resources and social development,” Alsaigh said.
The new system aims to support target sectors by working to enhance private sector participation in the Kingdom’s economy and provide investment opportunities. The NCP will handle the organization of all procedures related to privatization projects, as well as facilitating the provision of those opportunities to the private sector in a transparent and fair manner.
“The NCP is the competent authority that is responsible for applying the privatization law in cooperation and coordination with the targeted sectors and their supervising committees,” Alsaigh said.
The new regulations will promote “transparency, fairness and integrity of procedures related to contracts, as well as increasing the levels of inclusiveness and quality of services and the efficiency of assets related to privatization projects and improving their management level,” he added.
The NCP aims to become a “world-class center of excellence”, facilitating the process of allocating services in the aforementioned government sectors by providing assistance and support in drafting regulations, developing legislative frameworks, preparing implementation plans and time programs, overcoming obstacles and maintaining quality through continuous monitoring of privatization projects.
Additionally, the NCP announced the creation of the Registry of Privatization Projects, a register of privatization projects that constitutes the comprehensive central database of data and documents related to privatization projects.
The registry will serve as a means of preserving documents and information related to privatization projects, organizing the subject of disclosure of record information, and protecting confidential information related to privatization projects.
According to Alsaigh, the new system seeks to better enhance the existing privatization system, and one of the most important roles of the new system will be to strengthen the existing governance and ensure fairness and transparency.
“The law allows participants from the private sector to submit grievances related to the bidding and selection procedures of privatization projects, to set up a committee of experts to address the grievances related to the bidding and selection procedures of privatization projects and lay the regulatory basis to compensate the aggrieved in case the gap could not be addressed,” he said.