Riyadh: Saudi Arabia said on Monday it had signed agreements worth 204 billion riyals (Dh200 billion) and offered fresh incentives to attract capital as part of a 10-year programme that would help diversify the economy of the world’s top oil exporter.
The kingdom is offering investment opportunities in mining, industry, logistics and energy through its National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP).
That is part of an economic plan launched by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in 2016 to end dependence on hydrocarbons and create jobs for young Saudis.
NIDLP aims to boost the contribution of these sectors to $320 billion by 2030 to GDP, stimulate investments worth more than $426 billion, and increase the volume of non-oil exports to over $260 billion within an unspecified time period. It also wants to generate 1.6 million new jobs.
“The programme will be an outstanding achievement within the economic diversification process led by your royal highness,” Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said at a day-long event where Prince Mohammad made a brief appearance.
“Those who bet on Saudi Arabia will not lose while your royal highness is steering.” Prince Mohammad, who has been the main driver of efforts to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy and ease some social restrictions.
He has implemented reforms including ending a ban on women driving and opening cinemas in the nation.
The kingdom sealed 37 deals worth $53 billion and announced 29 others valued at $960 million. Boeing Co. agreed to manufacture airplane parts in the kingdom and Thales SA will cooperate in defence. International Business Machines Corp. signed a deal for research into cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
Among the announced deals, which included MoUs, was an agreement with French aerospace and defence company Thales and CMI of Belgium in military industry cooperation.
The Saudi Export Development Authority and the Saudi Industrial Development Fund reached a financing agreement worth $840 million for the construction of the Trans-Saudi Arabia plant in Jazan for basic and transformational industries, one of China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiatives.
Chemical companies Alrafiyah and Eastman Chemical of the United States agreed to set up a factory for hydrocarbon resins worth nearly $500 million.
The programme is also offering investment in projects such as plants that manufacture rubber, catalysts and vehicles.
The Saudi government will spend 100 billion riyals in 2019 and 2020 as part of its industrial development programme, according to NIDLP chief executive Aabed Abdullah Al Saadoun.
Transport minister Nabeel Al Amudi said the biggest challenge would be execution of major infrastructure projects.
“How to ensure that the riyal that you’re spending on capex or opex is being spent wisely, efficiently,” he told Reuters on the sidelines. “That remains a challenge for sure: project execution.” — Agencies