JEDDAH — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now facing challenges due to reforms in its economic framework, said a top official at the Makkah Region Economic Forum.
Fahad Al-Sukait said they are putting programs and initiatives that will help the private sector cope with changes. He added that the pressure on the private sector is a normal stage in the restructuring process.
Speaking about the private sector encouragement plan, he said they have finalized two stages, the first included SR40 billion, the second SR72 billion and the third stage will include SR88 billion.
The aim, Al-Sukait said, is not to create a fast-growing economy, but a sustainable one. The kingdom, he added, enjoys the geographical location, natural resources, and infrastructure which equip it to lead in the industrial sector.
Makkah region, he said, offers vast options for investment in transport, renewable energy, and serving pilgrims. The core of the development, he added, is the human capital – the young Saudis who will hold the flam and achieve the vision.
Among the programs they provide to enhance the industrial sector is logistic industry program, international partnership in logistics program, pilgrims program, and the leading Saudi companies program. He added that they encourage the private sector through reducing obstacles and providing direct and indirect support. The direct support includes increasing the capital of the indusial development fund by SR25 billion and the indirect support include supporting the demand on housing unites.
Among the sectors that the vision focuses on, he said, is the ministry sector as the kingdom aims to make 50 percent of it produced locally. The focus on this sector, he said, is because investing in this industrial sector does also serve other civil sectors.
Hussein Al-Otaibi, head of Geological Survey Authority, said that they aim to double the production of iron, be among the top 10 exporters for aluminum and increase production of gold ten times . The mining sector he said will attract investments worth 500 billion by 2030 and the government will spend on it SR21 billion.
Now the Kingdom, he explained, spends $23 for each kilometer to discover new mining zones while USA spends $118, Canada and Australia spend US$243 on each kilometer. To explore more mining areas in the kingdom, he said, they will spend US$300 for each kilometer.
The investment opportunities are varied, he explained, as they will need 3000 kilometer long roads, increase of the capacity of the railway to reach one million ton, increase the capacity of ports to reach 50 million tons, the establishment of aircraft landing areas in hard to reach places and supporting downstream industry.
In the same line, investors in digging can benefit from the opportunities available as there is a need to dig 460,000 meters, invest in search for uranium and 200,000 lab tests required lab all of which can offer a great chance for private sectors and foreign investors to explore the opportunities available, he added.
Meanwhile, Al-Otaibi said they will establish a giant geology museum with different sections, and added that they are putting it for investment. He also highlighted the Makkah region offers different opportunities for geology tourism that include caves, islands and sulfur water.