Apr 24, 2018
RIYADH: The first bespoke forum in Saudi Arabia by Al Tamimi and Company, the largest law firm in the Middle East, discussed business developments with a focus on foreign investment and the legal framework as a plan to achieve Vision 2030.
As the Kingdom undergoes extensive business, economic and social developments to undertake one of its greatest transitions ever with the National Transformation Program and Saudi Vision 2030, the maiden event shed light on best practices related to legal compliance for businesses operating and looking to enter the Saudi market.
It provided an opportunity to gain further insights on legal developments in the Kingdom surrounding privatization efforts and setting up and sustaining businesses in the Kingdom, as well as on cyber-security, financial cyber-crime and security measures.
Speaking at the opening session in a panel addressing Vision 2030’s goal of privatization and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Khalid Abdullah Al-Hussan, the CEO of Tadawul, said: “Tadawul has implemented reforms to ensure a secure, transparent and efficient market that is aligned with global market standards and practices.
“We have been facilitating the participation of international investors in the Saudi market and expanding access to international investors through the Qualified Foreign Investor program in cooperation with the Capital Market Authority, which was launched in 2015 and has been continuously updated since then to further ease qualification requirements.”
With the ease of doing business, there is a tremendous interest in local as well as foreign investment, he said, adding that the agency is moving in the right direction to attract FDI.
In a reply, he pointed that Saudi Arabia is an emerging market, and international investors see both the public and private sector as good opportunities.
Joining him in the panel, Ibrahim Alsuwail, deputy governor of investor services at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), said: “If we compare foreign investments in 2016, 2017 and 2018, we have noticed a definitive growth over the past 15 months.
“This includes direct investments from foreign entities, the opening of international branches of key organizations in the Kingdom and the strengthening of partnerships between local and foreign companies, which showcases the strengths of the Saudi economy and the importance of Vision 2030 in attracting international attention as well as investments.”
He said SAGIA is overseeing what the government entities and private sector can do with the Saudi chamber to enhance the business climate, adding that SAGIA is committed to supporting efforts increasing business opportunities for local as well as foreign investors.
“We are doing every bit to help investors with the ease of doing business in the Kingdom,” he said.
Ahmed Kattan, deputy minister of labor policy, said the government was determined to develop the labor market with a focus from being labor-intensive to capital-intensive, increase Saudi presence as well as increase women’s participation in the labor market.
He noted that the Ministry of Labor does not interfere in the local affairs of the companies as long as they fulfill the Saudization objective under the Nitaqat program.
Earlier, Essam Al Tamimi, senior partner and founder of Al Tamimi, said: “Our firm has over 10 years of experience in the Kingdom. We have grown to establish a deep-rooted understanding of the legal and legislative developments within the Kingdom to support clients across various sectors.
“This event gives us the opportunity to promote the knowledge-sharing requirements that are vital to the success of business coming in and operating in the Saudi market.”
Grahame Nelson, Al Tamimi’s head in Saudi Arabia, said: “As new and improved legislation is injected into the Kingdom’s business infrastructure, it has become vital that organizations are aware, as well as prepared to adopt and comply, in order to succeed.”
The panelists at the concluding session discussed cyber-security and financial cyber-crime, how to deal with it, and how information security breaches damage business.
Throughout the forum there was a clear focus on the importance of greater awareness of the developments of the legal structure in the Kingdom as an integral component to the facilitation of welcoming new businesses and industries.