Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced the establishment of National Energy Efficiency Services Co., with a capitalization of SR1.9 billion. According to a statement by the Saudi Press Agency(SPA), the new company has been established to stimulate the growth of the Kingdom’s energy efficiency industry, in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to diversify the economy and boost environmental sustainability.

In association with the ministries of energy and finance, and the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, the new company will offer investment opportunities to the business sector through public-private partnerships.

Projects in Saudi Arabia’s energy efficiency sector have an estimated value of SR42 billion, or around SR3 billion annually.

The company will fund and manage restoration programmes of government and public buildings, which represent over 70 percent of overall projects in the sector. These projects will help reduce government spending on the electricity sector, which will in turn reduce natural resource consumption while rationalizing capital investments in expansion projects for the production, generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.

PIF also revealed plans to establish a recycling company, which will offer the opportunity to recycle around 85 percent of recyclable waste produced in the Kingdom. This can be utilized as a source of alternative energy in manufacturing.

Preliminary studies indicated that out of the 50 million tons of recyclable materials produced in the Kingdom, only around 10 percent are recycled, while the rest are disposed through landfill sites, deeply damaging the environment.

The three major cities, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam contribute to more than 40 percent of recyclable waste materials in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment issued 87,575 commercial registrations for businesswomen by the end of 1438H.
The Ministry of Commerce and Investment has undertaken a wide range of programs recently to boost women’s contribution to the National Economy, a giant leap to the realization of Vision 2030.
Business licenses were issued in several sectors, notably: trade, manufacturing, communications, information technology, real estate, cleaning, tourism, restaurants and exhibitions.
The number of business licenses issued in various regions of the Kingdom were as follows: Riyadh (20,086), Jeddah (13,826), Makkah (5,098), Madinah (4,400) and Taif (3,861) and rest in different parts of the Kingdom.
Moreover, the Ministry has opened centres in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Dammam and Madinah to aid business women.

Saudi Arabia aims to supply electricity to Ethiopia through its grid in Egypt within the next three years, revealed Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid Al-Falih. Saudi Arabia’s interconnection with Egypt is expected to generate 3,000 megawatts in 2020. Moreover, through its planned grid in Turkey, the Kingdom also targets European countries in future.
Al-Falih also confirmed the Kingdom’s decision to generate electricity using atomic energy under the guidelines of Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and KA-CARE. The search for feasible location to setup two nuclear reactors capable of generating 2,500-3,000 MW has already commenced.
In addition, Italian technical consulting and engineering company CESI SpA and GCC Electrical Testing Laboratory (GCC Lab) decided to join hands for the development and operation of a state-of-the-art electrical testing facility in the Kingdom.

General Organization of Social Insurance (GOSI) reports for the first half of 2017 revealed that the number of Saudi female engineers registered with GOSI outnumbered their non-Saudi counterparts.
While the number of Saudi engineers reached 17,415, the non-Saudis stood at 2,843.
Out of 2.8 million engineers registered with GOSI, 92 percent are non-Saudis. In a move towards limiting expatriate worker’s control over the labor market and providing job openings for Saudi engineers, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has earlier suspended expatriates from transferring their profession to engineers.
The ministry classified 19 jobs illegal to expatriate workers which are: chief administrator of human resources in public or private sector, personnel affairs director, labor affairs director, personnel relations director, personnel affairs specialist, personnel affairs clerk, recruitment clerk, employee affairs clerk, time-keeper, general receptionist, hotel receptionist, hospital receptionist, complaint clerk, cashier, security guard, expeditor, key smith, customs clearer, women accessory shop salesperson.

Kingdom’s International brand value escalated by 19 percent making it the second most valuable brand in the Middle East after the UAE, says research published by London-based business-valuation consultancy Brand Finance. With a brand value of $575 billion, Saudi Arabia ranks 22nd globally whereas USA tops the chart with a brand value of $21.1 trillion.

Andrew Campbell, Brand Finance managing director in the Middle East, pointed out the contribution of Vision 2030 in promoting the nation’s brand value. “Vision 2030 has had some success in changing perceptions of the nation. Provided the rest of (its) projects are implemented with the same success, the nation’s brand value can expect to rise extensively,” Campbell added.

With Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder investing in the luxury Red Sea Project, the doors of international tourism have opened up adding to the international brand value. Moreover, the recent decision to grant driving license to women has assisted in changing the external perceptions of the Kingdom.

The Public Investment Fund(PIF) unveiled the establishment of a new investment fund, called “Fund of Funds”, to aid small and medium enterprises(SMEs).

With a capital of SR4 billion at its disposal, the Fund will call for greater activity in the private sector to boost gross domestic product (GDP) through venture capital and private ownership investments.

The Fund will also remove obstacles to the growth of venture capital industry in Saudi Arabia and facilitate the entry of foreign venture capital firms into the country.

Fund of Funds is expected to contribute SR400 million to the GDP and create 2,600 jobs by the end of 2020. It is also estimated that the fund’s contribution to the GDP would reach around SR 8.6 billion with creation of around 58,000 jobs by the end of 2027.

Women to drive in Saudi Arabia from June 2018

In a historic decision on September 26, 2017, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued orders to grant driving licenses to women in the Kingdom.
According to reports from The Saudi Press Agency, the royal order will come into force from Shawwal 10, 1439, corresponding to June 24, 2018.

26 September 2017

Saudi market regulator loosens asset management rules

The Capital Market Authority (CMA), announced that Saudi Arabia’s markets regulator loosened its rules for licensing asset management and other investment firms.

The revised rules will

  • Reduce requirements for obtaining a “management activity” license.
  • Lower the minimum net assets required for a company to be considered an “investment company” from 50 million riyals ($13 million) to 10 million riyals ($3 million).
  • Reduce the requirement for “management activities” from 50 million riyals to 20 million riyals.
  • Permit two new types of activities: managing non-real estate investment funds and managing the portfolios of small but experienced investors.

Alarabiya – 1 October 2017

SAMA to launch digital currency for banks

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) is planning to implement a pilot project to issue a virtual/digital currency that will only be traded among banks. There are no plans to issue a digital currency for trading between individuals and companies.

SAMA plans to dispense with SR 1 currency notes and issue coins for this denomination instead. SAMA is taking all steps needed for the issuance and circulation of riyal coins, which will be available at the SAMA headquarters, its branches and the entire banking sector.

Arab News – 7 October 2017

Third phase feminization of shops

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development is going to launch on Oct. 21 the third phase of feminization of all shops selling women’s accessories. Ministry’s spokesman Khlaid Aba Al-Khail said the third phase includes shops and stalls selling ladies perfumes, shoes, bags, stockings, ready made garments, textiles, wedding dresses, formal wear, abayas, robes, mother care equipment’s, and pharmacies in malls selling cosmetics.

Saudi Gazette – 9 October 2017