By Innovation-sa on September 6, 2018 in News

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman was presented with the 54th annual report of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) on Wednesday in the presence of Minister of Finance Al-Jadaan, SAMA Governer Dr.Ahmed Al-Khulaifi and the governor’s deputies during a reception at Al-Salam Palace.


The report, which examines the economic and financial developments of the country in 2017 indicated that despite a GDP drop of 0.86 percent, the Saudi economy still saw several positive indicators during the last year.


Even though the GDP of the oil sector contracted by 3.09 percent, the non-oil sector registered a positive GDP growth of 1.05 percent. The average consumer index decreased by 0.9 percent in 2017 compared to a growth of 2.0 percent in 2016.


Al-Khulaifi said that one major positive indicator witnessed by the country is the Kingdom’s current account of the balance of payments, which recorded a surplus of SR57.1 billion in 2017 against a deficit of SR89.4 billion in 2016.


He added that the addition of Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in a number of global market indexes such as Morgan Stanley, Standard & Poor’s(S&P) and FTSE Index for emerging markets will contribute to enhancing the efficiency of the financial market and increasing market attractiveness for Saudi and foreign investors.


Al-Khulaifi said that accelerating the growth of the financial sector was one of SAMA’s key tasks and expressed hope that the local economy would continue to adjust to reforms adopted during the last two years by attaining good growth rates and contributing to the goals of the Kingdom.


King Salman praised SAMA’s efforts in serving the national economy and achieving desired objectives as part of Vision 2030.


Arab News – 05 September 2018

By Innovation-sa on September 2, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has named an advisory board consisting of 11 business minds and experts from across the globe that will provide strategic guidance to the development of Kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative (FII).

Advisory board members include Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Japan’s SoftBank Group, Joe Kaesar, the president and chief executive of German industrial giant Siemens, Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of private equity Blackstone, which manages about $450 billion of assets, Mohammed Ali Alabbar, the founder of Emaar Properties, Lubna Olayan, the CEO of Olayan Financing Company, Arianna Huffington and Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments, Ajay Banga, the chief of Mastercard, Victor Chu, the chairman of First Eastern Investment Group, Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of Credit Suisse Group and Peter Theil, the co-founder of the Founders Fund, according to a statement from PIF.

The event that debuted in the Kingdom last year will explore how investment can be used to drive growth opportunities, fuel innovation and shape future economies in this year’s summit.

The second edition of FII is taking place in Riyadh on October 23-25, 2018 and will include three summits looking at new health care frontiers, immersive technologies and the urban future. It will also review emerging business and investment trends, and early-stage growth opportunities.


By Innovation-sa on September 2, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion mega-city projects, NEOM, has appointed Aradhana Khowala as its Managing Director of Tourism.

Khowala, CEO and founder of hospitality and tourism consulting firm Aptamind and a Global Advisory Board Member of the World Tourism Forum, Lucerne is a global authority on the travel, tourism and hospitality industry and was awarded the 21st Century Icon Awards in association with CNBC and London School of Economics as an inspirational game changer.

Khowala’s appointment was confirmed by NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr on NEOM’s official Twitter account. He tweeted, “We will be working alongside Aradhana to make NEOM an exceptional global tourism destination looking ahead to the future”.

NEOM, a mega investment and business special zone unveiled by Prince Muhammed last October at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference as part of plans to diversify the Kingdom’s oil-dependent economy, will be the world’s first private zone to extend across three countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

The 26,500-square km mega city will offer an open platform for investing and financing. The zone will be designed to function independently of the Kingdom’s rules and regulations.

Backed by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), NEOM will also strive to become the most efficient destination in the world by ensuring cent percent automation of all services and operations. In the future, robots will take over repetitive and laborious tasks.

Earlier in July, King Salman enjoyed his vacation at NEOM, according to state media.


By Innovation-sa on August 29, 2018 in News

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.


By Innovation-sa on August 29, 2018 in News

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.


By Innovation-sa on August 13, 2018 in News

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.


By Innovation-sa on August 13, 2018 in News

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.


By Innovation-sa on August 6, 2018 in News

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.


By Innovation-sa on August 6, 2018 in News

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.


By Innovation-sa on July 31, 2018 in News

The Council of Minister’s instructed the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) and the Ministry of Housing not to issue or renew work permits of expatriates without a lease contract registered in the Ejar system from September onwards.


The ministries will organize awareness campaigns across the Kingdom to ensure that expatriates authenticate their residential rent contracts and register in the Ejar network before renewal or issuance of work permit.


The decision, which comes as the implementation of the Cabinet’s resolution dated February 13, 2017, aims to enhance the services of the real-estate sector as well as ensure expatriates’ documentation of lease contracts in the network, promote enrichment of advanced services and contribute to the development of electronic transformation.


The Ejar program was launched earlier in February 2018 to establish an electronic network for rental services which would simplify renting procedures and for registering the mutual commitments between tenants, landlords and real estate middlemen. The initiative also enabled electronic payment of rents through SADAD either monthly or quarterly or half-yearly or annually.


The Ministry of Housing is undertaking several new schemes to ensure sustainable development of the Kingdom’s rental sector by protecting the rights of the tenant, the landlord and the realtor.


Arab News – 30 July 2018