Saudi foreign investment licences increase by 130% in Q1

Saudi Ministry of Justice says 68 new investment licences issued during first quarter of 2018
Saudi foreign investment licences increase by 130% in Q1
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Tue 07 Aug 2018 01:55 PM

There has been an 130 percent increase in the number of foreign investment licences granted in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2018, according to a statement from the kingdom’s Ministry of Justice.

According to figures from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and cited by the ministry, there were 68 new licenses issued in Q1 2017, while in 2017 a total of 377 new investment licenses worth SE5.7 billion ($1.52 billion) were issued.

The Ministry of Justice credits a number of legal and regulatory reforms for the surge in licenses, such as investors having the right to 100 percent ownership of assets in the engineering, education and recruitment sectors, and reductions in in the time and effort necessary to secure a business license that has also been drastically reduced.

Additionally, in September 2017, the kingdom’s three dedicated commercial courts began operating in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, in addition to specialist commercial chambers that opened within existing public courts in a number of cities.

Specialist labour courts are slated to begin operating in early 2019, with the Supreme Judicial Council approving their establishment in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Buraidah, Dammam, Abha and Jeddah, with 96 other chambers across the kingdom to serve its 13 million strong workforce.

The kingdom has also increasingly been enforcing foreign rulings, such as a May 2018 decision that saw a Saudi judge force a locally-based tourism company to pay a US firm $3.73 million.

“Saudi Arabia is looking to the future, to 2030 and beyond, to the next century, and the next millennium,” said Farraj Al Dossary, the head of the Riyadh commercial court. “The Ministry of Justice has always taken the view that robust, reliable, pragmatic legal processes serve the continued prosperity of the nation.”

“We will continue to invest time and ingenuity to send a clear message that there has never been a better time to invest in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

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