Shape up or ship out!

Sagia issues stern warning to bogus investors

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has urged small-scale foreign investors to either improve their performance or leave the Kingdom.

“We have given an ultimatum to these small investors who have failed to add value to the national economy,” said Abdullathif Al-Othman, SAGIA governor, adding that the deadline ends within a week.

Al-Othman said the move was aimed at attracting investments to quality projects that not only add value to the economy, but also help the transfer of technology and employment of more Saudis.

“New investment licenses will be given only to those who fulfill these conditions,” he said in comments published on Thursday. He said some of these small investors have submitted an undertaking that they would improve their level of investment.

“If they do this, they will continue in the market,” he said, adding that serious investors have expressed their readiness to meet the conditions.

Al-Othman said the closure of these small businesses would not affect the economy. “Our economy is big enough not to be shaken by these small-scale projects,” he said while welcoming serious investors who wanted to contribute positively to the economy. “Such good investors will receive a warm welcome from both Saudi people and officials.”

Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, president of the Council of Saudi Chambers, applauded SAGIA’s move to clean up the investment sector.

“There are hundreds of investors who have licenses, but did nothing to kick-start their projects. Some of them are engaged in activities other than what they are licensed to do,” he told Arab News.

Al-Zamil said the SAGIA move would also help eradicate illegal cover-up businesses from the country.

“Saudi Arabia is not against foreign investors, but we are looking for serious investors,” he said, adding that about 8,000 foreign investors had not contributed to the national economy after receiving SAGIA licenses.

“SAGIA has launched a survey of foreign investment projects across the country,” Al-Zamil said.

The authority has canceled 792 licenses, including 403 in the contracting sector, 117 in the light industries, 189 in metal works, gold and furniture, 10 restaurants and 18 tour operators.




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