|27 October, 2019

Attracting investors: Saudi Arabia issues 558 business licenses in H1 2019

Kingdom has seen an 85% increase in business licenses compared to same period last year

A Saudi woman uses her mobile as she arrives to attend the launch of the Doing Business Report 2020 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

A Saudi woman uses her mobile as she arrives to attend the launch of the Doing Business Report 2020 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), which is responsible for increasing investments and supporting businesses in the kingdom, has issued 558 licenses in the first half of 2019.

“SAGIA has already issued 558 licenses in the first half of 2019, that's a 85 percent increase compared to the same period last year,” an official tweet from the investment authority confirmed.

New licenses approved for foreign businesses in Saudi Arabia jumped by 70 percent in the first quarter compared to the same time last year, mainly due to an increase in applications for business licenses from Britain and China which went up by 86 percent and 71 percent respectively.

Saudi Arabia is looking at foreign investment to reduce its dependence on the oil. Though Foreign Direct Investment numbers of the kingdom are not available, the growth in foreign licenses reflects its efforts to remove restrictions on foreign investments.

Saudi Arabia improved its ranking in the World Bank's latest Doing Business report, climbing 30 places to 62nd, driven mostly by reforms aimed at building more economic diversification.

According to the World Bank, Saudi Arabia's reforms included establishing a one-stop shop for business registration, introducing a secured transactions law and an insolvency law, improving protections for minority investors, and measures to bring more women into the workforce.

(Writing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@refinitiv.com, editing by Daniel Luiz)

© ZAWYA 2019

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