Saudi Arabia reviewing whole process of foreign investment

Author: Gemma Varriale | Published: 11 Jul 2012
After a series of corruption scandals, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) has appointed a new governor.

Despite coming amid a wave of optimism about changes to the country’s foreign investment regime, the governor’s first few months have created cause for concern.

Abdullatif bin Ahmed Al-Othman, senior vice president of Saudi Aramco became governor on May 18. His first action was to temporarily suspend all service licence applications without releasing any official circular.

Sagia also refused to accept industrial and retail licences unless the company had a capitalisation of over 50 million Saudi Arabian riyals (SAR). This was in contrast to the one million SAR previously required.

In the absence of any official announcement, there is now widespread speculation over the future of Saudi Arabia’s foreign investment framework.

“Although we don’t know the full extent of what the changes to the new rules...