Saudi Arabia plans to allow foreign investors to fully own companies in the health and education sectors, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
The move comes as the Kingdom gradually eases ownership restrictions on foreign companies, as part of wider economic reforms. Foreign firms were previously required to set up joint ventures with local partners.
“We will allow complete foreign ownership of all types of education centers, even primary schools,” Al-Omar was quoted as saying.
In the health sector, the Saudi health ministry will only serve as a regulator and not a service provider, he said, adding that this will open up investment opportunities worth $180 billion over the next five years.
He did not disclose the date of implementing the new policy. In April, the Saudi government launched a privatization program that would raise more than $200 billion, the agency reported.
The Kingdom, however, did not clarify the rules of full foreign ownership and management for many sectors.
SAGIA had previously lifted ownership restrictions for foreign companies in the Kingdom’s wholesale and retail sectors in 2015. Earlier this month, the authority announced that it would allow full foreign ownership of engineering services firms.
© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)