Saudi Arabia to introduce expat ‘green card’ within five years

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a cabinet meeting that agrees to implement a broad reform plan known as Vision 2030 in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia will introduce a “green card” system within five years to allow resident expatriates in the kingdom to have more rights in order to improve its investment climate, Deputy Crown said on Monday.

Speaking in a television interview, he said planned sweeping reforms, of which the proposed green card is one, will be implemented even if oil prices rise back above $70 a barrel and pledged to end Riyadh’s dependence on crude revenue by 2020.

The Saudi government on Monday approved a plan for vast economic reforms dubbed ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ to substantially reduce the Opec powerhouse’s reliance on oil, the official SPA news agency reported.

The plan, details of which were to be announced later Monday, focuses on privatisations, further reductions in subsidies, the sale of part of state oil giant Aramco and the creation of a giant $2 trillion Sovereign Wealth Fund, SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia’s new “Vision 2030” reform plan will not require major spending but will involve restructuring, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, adding that spending on infrastructure projects would continue.

Prince Mohammed added that the government would restructure the Housing Ministry to help more citizens buy homes, said subsidies should not go to the rich, and said he aimed to reduce unemployment among Saudi nationals to 7 percent from 11.6 percent.

He said Saudi Arabia plans to set up a holding company for military industries that would be fully owned by the government at first and listed later on the Saudi bourse.

“We are now about to establish a holding company for the military industries 100 percent owned by the government that will be listed later in the Saudi market,” Prince Mohammed told Al-Arabiya TV.

“We expect it to be launched by end of 2017 with more details.”

Investment fund will turn kingdom into a global player

Saudi Arabia’s new investment fund will turn the world’s top oil exporter into a global investment power, Mohammed bin Salman said.

He said in an interview on al-Arabiya television to announce sweeping reforms known as Vision 2030 that the kingdom’s existing Public Investment Fund had made returns of 30 billion ($8 billion) riyals in 2015.

Asked by Arabiya whether he thought the management of PIF would be too autocratic, he said there would be an elected board that would make investment decisions for PIF. Source

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