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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Saudi Arabia's economically diverse vision paying off

Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih, Public Investment Fund (PIF) managing director Yasir Al-Rumayyan and Commerce and investment minister Dr. Majid Al-Qassabi spoke about the Kingdom's economy

Al Rajhi Capital starts sale of its real estate investment fund, the first Saudi Arabian initial public offering of 2018. Getty Images
Al Rajhi Capital starts sale of its real estate investment fund, the first Saudi Arabian initial public offering of 2018. Getty Images

Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih has said he has been inundated with approaches from investors as the country increases its spending.

Speaking at a press conference in Riyadh that was also attended by Public Investment Fund (PIF) managing director Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and Commerce and investment minister Dr. Majid Al-Qassabi, the minister highlighted the importance of the goal of diversifying the mix of energy sources including renewable energy.

He also talked about the program of developing the national industries and logistics services, as well as welcoming the new mining strategy and the mining projects.

Regarding the Public Investment Fund, the fund's supervisor Yasser Othman Al-Rumayan highlighted the fund's efforts and said at the press conference that "the growth of the Fund's investment portfolio reached SR840 billion of assets under management from SR570 billion in 2017."

He noted that the fund "invested nearly 70 billion riyals in local and international investments in 2017 as well."

The three stressed that supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was a main theme of this year’s budget with SR72 billion allocated to the private sector — including SR12 billion for SMEs.

Saudi Arabia plans the highest level of government spending in its history next year, when expenditure will hit more than SR1.1 trillion.

When asked about the impact of the graft crackdown on the economy, the investment minister said corruption had been rampant for decades and it was necessary to eradicate it.

“The rule of law will follow and I think this will attract many investors,” he said. “We have seen the results, and because of that we now have real competition and all Saudis have a fair chance.”

The energy minister agreed that the move had not impacted foreign investors because “they have not been partners in corruption.”

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