Ensuring a competitive environment is key to progress
As Saudi Arabia continues to undergo rapid economic transformation with global players eyeing the country for investment opportunities, the government is taking special measures to ensure the creation of a competitive environment conducive to business success.
From a government perspective, competitiveness can be viewed as a state’s demonstrated ability to make optimal use of all its resources, policies, and institutions to raise the adequacy and quality of services provided to individuals and the business sector in a way that contributes to achieving sustainable development for the country and placing it in an advanced competitive position at all levels.
For that purpose, the Kingdom has established the National Competitiveness Center (NCC).
It is an independent government center working under the Council of Economic and Development Affairs. Established in 2019, it aims to develop and enhance Saudi Arabia’s competitiveness environment and raise its ranking in global reports and indicators.
Without prejudice to the competencies and responsibilities of other government agencies, the center may carry out the necessary tasks. This can be done by communicating with government and private agencies, including civil and nonprofit associations and institutions, and building partnerships with them.
The center can also suggest and recommend plans aimed at raising the Kingdom’s competitiveness in various fields and discuss them with relevant government and private agencies.
Laws and their effective implementation play a key role in the progress of a country and therefore it is the responsibility of the center to review and develop the relevant regulations and suggest necessary amendments to suit the needs of the Kingdom.
To ensure proper implementation of the country’s rules and regulations relating to different sectors, the center is also responsible for conducting research to increase the level of competitiveness by exploring new opportunities in their respective areas.
In addition, the NCC looks to identify the obstacles and challenges related to the development of a competitive environment.
Since competitiveness is key to progress, it is important to ensure that memoranda of understanding and cooperation are signed between government agencies and the private sector to unify efforts aimed at improving the competitive environment in the Kingdom.
To consolidate the concept of competitiveness among individuals, it is important to benefit from the practices and experiences of countries that have advanced rankings in international competitiveness reports and indicators and involve experts and advisers from different backgrounds in this process.
Building a database that shows the Kingdom’s ranking in global competitiveness reports, the extent of progress made, and the reflection of the reforms that have been accomplished on the competitive environment in the Kingdom, could be a very important step.
The center’s board of directors is made up of representatives from all government ministries and its financial resources consist of financial appropriations allocated in the state budget, the financial credits received by the NCC in return for providing services, plus gifts, donations, endowments, and bequests accepted by the board according to the governing regulations.
• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi legal consultant, head of the health law department at the law firm of Majed Garoub and a member of the International Association of Lawyers. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif