More than 160 foreign investors have reportedly filed complaints against Saudi Arabia’s investment authority after their licences were cancelled in what they claim was discrimination.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) said it cancelled the licenses of 374 foreign investors in 2013 after they failed to correct their status according to new regulations.
The organisation said the move was aimed at cleaning up the sector to attract major international investment companies and create more jobs for Saudis, Arab News reported.
But some of the foreign investors whose licenses were cancelled, including Arabs, Americans, Canadians and Indians, said the move had affected their investments worth billions of riyals.
The newspaper said 167 investors had lodged complaints against SAGIA at the Court of Grievances and had threatened to take the issue to an international centre for investment disputes in the US.
One investor also reportedly complained the SAGIA’s annual fee of SAR12,000 ($3200) for each license was excessive.
“The royal decree calls for equal treatment of Saudi and foreign investors, but in practice this is not the case,” another investor was quoted as saying.