Saudi market offers ample opportunities to investors


10/01/2017 05:49 AST

A ministerial body has been established among a series of initiatives to improve attracting both local and foreign investments in the Kingdom to achieve Vision 2030, according to Governor of SAGIA Prince Saud Bin Khalid Al Faisal during a press conference following the opening of pharmaceutical company Pfizer Saudi Limited’s new plant in KAEC.

He added that improvements include easing visa procedures, regulations, and electronic services. The executive committee is headed by the minister of commerce and industry with 300 KPIs to target. “You will see improvements in regulations and attracting foreign investments,” he said. “The foreign investor is important to us but the priority is to the local investor.”

Pfizer officials who participated at the press conference said several factors encouraged the Pfizer group to open a plant in Saudi Arabia that represents around SR187.5 million investment to date. “The Saudi market is very promising and has the ability to grow,” said Tarek Yousuf, regional president of Pfizer. “It is the only market in the region that has a highly dense and educated population as well as high consumption power. They also have awareness in taking care of their health. This drove us to invest here.”

The pharmaceutical industry in Saudi Arabia is one of the largest and its size is approximately $9 billion annually. The Saudi market is the largest in the region and is expected grow to $15 billion by 2021.

“KAEC provided us with a strategic location near the port for now and any future expansion, easing investment procedures, infrastructure and state-of-art facilities provided here,” added Yousuf.

“Shipping products to the Kingdom takes time,” he further said. “Having a plant here will save time, increase better access to patients in Saudi Arabia and prevent having a number of products be limited to the date of expiration.” Forty percent of products will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia. Some 124 employees are expected to be hired in 2017, comprising 50% share of Saudis.

Asked about the challenges faced by investors, Prince Saud Bin Khalid Al Faisal said “the most important thing for an investor is having a clear vision. They don’t mind any new changes that occur in the Kingdom as long as they have the information of these changes. From now until 2020, they won’t be any new changes in cost or regulations that investors haven’t been informed of, according to minister of commerce and industry. There needs to be this transparency from the part of the government to the private sector.”

Investment is promising especially that the Saudi population is young, he added. “The consuming power is expected to grow by 2.5%, one of the fastest in the world.”

CEO of KAEC Fahd Alrasheed said KAEC is going to expand in various sectors this year. “The goal is to make KAEC a manufacturing hub for the region,” he said.

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