JEDDAH — The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) launched the National Information Technology Development Program (NTDP) to accelerate the development of the information technology sector in the Kingdom, in line with Vision 2030.

NTDP comes as part of a package of initiatives and technical programs provided by the Ministry that aim to make Saudi Arabia a global center for information technology, as it is already one of the 20 largest economies in the world.

MCIT issued a report for the year 2021-2022, which stated that the program aims to create a supportive environment for the development of the information technology sector through coordination with government agencies to ensure alignment and integration between their work to support entrepreneurs and technology companies, stimulate research and technical innovation, build up digital capabilities, and attract technical capabilities. The program also aims to promote scientific research in the Kingdom to achieve returns of SR10 billion and create 10,000 jobs by 2026.

SR2.5 billion budget

The program’s budget is SR2.5 billion, which aims to support and empower technical entrepreneurs, technology companies, and empower potential ‘billion-dollar’ valuation startups, in addition to developing technical talents, promoting innovation and technical research.

NTDP targets local and international technology companies, research and technical innovation centers, and technical entrepreneurs. That is due to the increase in local content in the communications and information technology sector which reached 28.8%, and the electricity tariff for cloud computing companies was reduced by 40% after MCIT approved the regulations for cloud service providers, which are a pillar of new technology solutions, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, encryption, augmented reality (AR), wireless services. and technical devices.

It was found that these activities require qualitative use of electrical energy, which constitutes a cost that falls on the companies, eventually burdening the consumer.

Therefore, the tariff for electricity consumption in cloud computing activity was reduced by 40% after the approval of the Council of Ministers. This step aims to support the growth of the information technology sector, where cloud computing raises the rate of GDP growth and creates a fertile environment that attracts investments due to its low operating costs, high level of information protection and ease of access.

The companies operating in this sector and the new companies that apply to connect the electricity before the end of 2023 will benefit from the reduction in the electricity tariff.

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