Foreign investments

A new Saudi committee to regulate foreign investment as the Kingdom opens up

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has formed a new committee to regulate foreign investment and protect critical sectors in the Kingdom such as utilities.

The committee is responsible for creating and implementing a criterion for foreign investors, identifying a list of companies, individuals and activities excluded from foreign investment, Argaam reported, citing a cabinet decision.

Chaired by the Minister of Investment, the new committee will also set the limit for foreign ownership in local companies.

“The establishment of this committee is a wise decision that reflects the rapid pace of changes in the economic structure with the participation of foreign investors,” said Mohammed Al-Suwayed, director of Razeen Capital.

The committee comes as more and more foreign entities are interested in entering the Saudi market as part of the government’s efforts to modernize its economy.

Saudi analyst Al-Suwayed said, “The committee is made to deal with national security and national resource implications, including natural and critical resource types.”

He said the decision to set up the committee will protect the Kingdom from “wider political risk” if essential services such as public utilities are controlled by foreign businessmen.

“Saudi businessmen have more access to public policy-making than any other stakeholder, and after allowing foreign businessmen to join the boards of chambers of commerce, they expect have the same access and also influence policy-making,” he explained.

The ministers of commerce, economy, planning, communications and information technology, the heads of the Local Content Authority and the Capital Market Authority will also be part of the committee.

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