RIYADH: Expat workers and business people have welcomed a Saudi government decision allowing foreign nationals to run Saudi-owned firms, saying the move will strengthen and broaden economic activity in the Kingdom.
The announcement of the policy change was made after the Ministry of Justice lifted a previous ban on expatriates managing Saudi companies.
Minister of Justice Dr. Walid Al-Samaani said in a circular that the ministry had received a telegram in this regard from the Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the National Competitiveness Center (Tayseer), Majed Al-Qasabi, which read: “A working team constituted by the Ministry of Commerce to study the issue came to the conclusion that there is no objection to appointing non-Saudis as managers of Saudi-owned companies, as well as in authorizing foreigners to act in place of Saudis in running companies.”
Zakir Azmi, an Indian expat who has worked in Saudi Arabia for more than two decades, told Arab News the decision to lift the ban is “judicious and timely.”
“At a time when the Kingdom plans to diversify its economy, this will definitely contribute to achieving sustainable development of the country’s economy,” he said.
Azmi said that the move will also encourage foreign investment in the Kingdom by boosting overall confidence in the Saudi market.
“This will enhance overall economic activity in the country. It’s a step forward in achieving the goals set under Saudi Vision 2030, and also delivers financial support to expatriates,” he said.
Raafat Oun, a Lebanese expat working in the construction industry in Jeddah, said that the move will strengthen the Saudi economy.
“I know some Lebanese who left the Kingdom because of the ban on running Saudi-owned superstores. I am sure that when they hear this news they will be delighted,” he told Arab News.
“Now that it’s no longer illegal, I am also thinking of leaving my present job and enter into one business.”
Faiz Al-Najdi, a Pakistani expat working in Yanbu, described the policy change as “a good omen for expats.”
“This decision will help energize small and medium business enterprises in the Kingdom,” he said.
Al-Najdi urged fellow expats who have left the Kingdom to reconsider and look for new opportunities in the local market now that the ban has been lifted.