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100% foreign ownership in most sectors: SAGIA

Published by ARAB NEWS   http://www.arabnews.com/

CAIRO — Friday 13 March 2015

Saudi Arabia allows foreign investors to have 100 percent ownership of their projects, except in four sectors where they require a Saudi partner, said a senior official of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

Ayedh Al-Otaibi, director of Investment Regulations Development and Procedures, said efforts are under way in association with other government departments to attract more investment in the private sector.

The relevant regulations for doing business in the Kingdom are in line with its open market and flexible economic policies, he said while emphasizing the incentives and guarantees that the Foreign Investment Act (FIA) provides to foreign investors.

“The FIA extends all the needed support for investments allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in all sectors with the exception of four sectors: Professional services, wholesale and retail, financial services insurance and banking, and telecom,” Al-Otaibi said.

He also pointed out that in certain sovereign sectors as well as religious activities such as Haj and Umrah foreign investments are not allowed.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the region that allows 100 percent foreign ownership of investment projects,” said the SAGIA official. Any restricted investment activity is also under constant review with the aim of permitting more activities, he said.

Al-Otaibi added that while the international agreements signed by the Kingdom stipulate that foreign investment must come under the purview of the Company Act, the FIA has gone beyond, welcoming foreign investments of individual entrepreneurs in activities that are in target sector, innovative in nature and involve commercialization of patents.

Furthermore, SAGIA has the flexibility to be accommodative of these distinguished investments that are aligned to the Kingdom’s development objectives, he added.

Al-Otaibi said SAGIA was seeking value-added foreign investments to boost the economy.

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