Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is involved in negotiation talks with Tesla challenger Lucid Motors over a $1 billion investment, revealing the Kingdom’s interest to invest in electric car makers.
PIF and Lucid Motors, an electric car start-up run by battery company Ateiva, have drawn up a term sheet under which PIF could invest more than $1 billion in Lucid Motors and obtain majority ownership.
Sources also reported that PIF’s initial investment in Lucid Motors would be $500 million, followed by subsequent cash injections of an undisclosed amount in two phases depending on Lucid Motors hitting certain production milestones.
The investment would be a boon for Lucid Motors, which has been scrounging for new funding since last summer.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) applauded the Saudi government for the progress made till date in pursuing its reform agenda and emphasised that stronger oil price should not slow momentum.
A senior official at the Washington based company said that the Saudi Arabian economy is moving ahead with economic reforms and growth in its non-oil sector is expected to gain momentum despite any delay in the proposed sale of shares in Saudi Aramco.
According to the IMF report based on annual consultations, Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to increase 1.9 percent this year, in contrast to a GDP fall of 0.9 percent last year. Non-oil GDP growth is also expected to rise to 2.3 percent this year from 1.1 percent last year.
The report anticipated the strengthening of the Kingdom’s finances because of higher oil prices and non-oil revenues. However, it urged the government the need to maintain spending at a sustainable level in different oil price environments so that the Saudi budget will not be exposed, should there be an unexpected drop in oil prices.
Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit fell by 84 percent to 7.4 billion riyals in the second quarter of 2018, according to figures from the Ministry of Finance.
During the second quarter, revenues increased by more than two thirds to reach SR273.588 billion, indicating an improvement in economic activity.
In contrast to the previous year, oil revenues surged by 82 percent to reach SR184.165 billion, which also contributed to narrowing the budget deficit.
Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister said that the announced second quarter 2018 financial figures reflect improvement in the public finances performance, which will lead the Kingdom to continue its reform plans aimed at achieving economic diversification and financial sustainability.
The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) announced plans to launch the Tayseer program to residential subscribers whose monthly bills range from SR300 to SR3,000, in a move to provide customers with easier payment options.
This year, the program will cover the period from July to December and provide subscribers with the option to pay average monthly consumption charges before settling their final bill at the end of the year.
From the start of this month, over 3 million eligible subscribers will automatically be registered with Tayseer.
SEC also announced plans to permit debts accrued by residential subscribers prior to July to be paid off in six monthly instalments, starting from October.
The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) named Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, as the ambassador of “Saudi Tech Hub”.
Saud Bin Abdulla Al-Qahtani, the head of the federation and an advisor to the Royal Court, said that the appointment of Wozniak reflects the federation’s desire to work with the best minds in the sector to help the Kingdom become the region’s technology hub.
Al-Qahtani presented Wozniak with a special certificate marking the end of the three-day Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah, which attracted nearly 3,000 young developers to create apps for Hajj.
Wozniak said that the success of Hajj Hackathon reflects the great interest among Saudis in programming and emerging technologies. He added that there is every chance that Saudi Arabia will play an important role in the evolving and changing global technology community, and that the country could soon be the main tech hub in the region.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance signed financing agreements to fund 17 health, education and hospitality projects in the Kingdom with loans amounting to SR755.8 million.
Through these agreements, the government plans to attract the private sector to participate in the comprehensive development of the country and invest more in service projects, in accordance with the objectives of Vision 2030, said Dr.Hamad bin Sulaiman Al-Bazai, Deputy Minister of Finance.
In the health sector, the project plans to establish eight health projects, including hospitals and medical complexes worth SR407.78 million in Riyadh, Dammam, Abu Arish, Jeddah, Abha and Buraidah.
Moreover, the agreement pledges SR340.74 million to the education sector to establish schools, universities and colleges in Riyadh, Madinah, Jeddah and Dammam. A hospitality project for a 3-star hotel in Jazan is also part of the agreement.