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Minimum investment limit being reviewed

JEDDAH, 30 August — Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is reviewing the minimum investment limit for foreigners in the contracting and trading sectors.

SAGIA’s rethink of its June decision to fix the limit at SR2 million is attributed to conflicting stands taken by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and medium and small scale investors in the Kingdom. While the chamber wants the minimum investment for foreigners to be no more than SR500,000, the medium and small businessmen contend that it should not be less than SR50 million, Al-Watan reported yesterday.

Fuhaid Al-Shareef, undersecretary for SAGIA’s investment services, said both the proposals would be subjected to detailed studies and an appropriate decision would be taken. SAGIA decided on the minimum level at the launch of the investment authority on the basis of proposals and observations made by the government and private sectors. All proposals were considered while SAGIA prepared its executive by-laws in June, Al-Fuhaid said.

The official also pointed out that SAGIA was concerned about the worries expressed by some businessmen on the adverse effects foreign investors’ entry would make on small-scale industries.

Considering the economic difficulties and social importance of small investors SAGIA is studying a number of options to support this segment, he added.

The chamber’s demand to bring down the minimum is, apparently, aimed at rejuvenating the domestic economy with more investment inflow. On the other hand, small-scale investors fear that foreign investors will dominate the small enterprises scene and drive locals out of business if the minimum is kept low.


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