RIYADH: The seeds of a stronger industrial sector in Saudi Arabia have been sown by the minister of industry and mineral resources as he unveiled a Stimulating Local Industry initiative that would fuel the Kingdom’s ambitious advance into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Bandar Al-Khorayef set out how the plan will stimulate investments in the sector, increase the percentage of local content, raise operational efficiency and improve the competitiveness of the local factories, spur employment and facilitate technology transfer into the region.
“The Stimulating Local Industry will be an umbrella for many initiatives, including the Future Factories and Promising Factories launched today, in addition to other initiatives that will be announced later,” Al-Khorayef said in a ministry press note.
The Factories of the Future program plans to transform 4,000 factories with automation and modern technologies into trailblazers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the convergence of emerging technology domains such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and advanced
According to the ministry, the program will finance up to 75 percent of the project cost and 0ffer financial incentives for the rest of the project. The financial incentive for the company would be a maximum of SR10 million ($2.66 million) granted when the factory is fully operational.
The other benefits of the scheme include a loan repayment of seven years and an application review process not exceeding eight weeks. Details for applications to the Competitiveness program can be found on the Saudi Industrial Development Fund website.
Promising Factories is another program that promises to rev up the pace of the industry by offering soft loans through SIDF without seeking personal guarantees or mortgaging the investor’s property.
The program will facilitate the development of innovative investment and financing tools to encourage the entry of small and medium enterprises into the industrial sector and fill the required financing gap in the sector.
“This initiative (SLI) reflects the volume of interest that the Kingdom attaches to the development of Saudi industries and confirms the continued endeavor of the industrial system to provide incentives and advantages for local and foreign investors,” the minister said in a statement.
“It demonstrates the integration of roles between the relevant government agencies in order to provide an attractive environment for industrial investment and to employ the purchasing capabilities of individuals and government agencies, which provides in the industrial sector qualitative opportunities for current manufacturers and future investors,” the statement added.