RIYADH (RAHNUMA): Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund continues to contribute to efforts to support the development of the Kingdom, stimulate growth and diversify the nation’s economy, the cabinet said on Tuesday.
During its weekly meeting, chaired by King Salman, the Council of Ministers praised the Public Investment Fund’s strategy for the next five years, which will “place it in a prominent position on the world map as a pioneering sovereign fund capable of investing and managing large capital in multiple markets.”
The strategy, announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last week, includes investment of at least SR150 billion ($40 billion) annually in the local economy, incrementally until 2025, and will contribute SR1.2 trillion to non-oil GDP, cumulatively, through the fund’s subsidiaries. It also aims to increase its assets by SR4 trillion by the end of 2025, and create 1.8 million jobs, directly and indirectly.
The Saudi cabinet also approved the issuance of residence permits for those having work licenses and the renewal of these permits will be at least on a quarterly basis (every 3 months), exempting domestic workers and those working in similar domains. The fees of work and residency licenses, issuance residency fees and expat levy will be collected in installments.
Majid Al-Qasabi, the acting Minister of Information, told the Saudi Press Agency that the cabinet was also briefed on local and international developments in the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministers discussed ways to preserve the Kingdom’s high global ranking in coronavirus research. The country is ranked first in the region and 14th in the world for its university research into the global progress of COVID-19, which is a sign of the Kingdom’s “interest and care in research and innovation and the efforts made in addressing the pandemic, reflecting its ability and position in dealing with crises.”
The cabinet also reviewed efforts by security forces to prevent the smuggling and distribution of drugs in the Kingdom, in particular an operation by the General Directorate for Narcotics Control that led to the seizure of 20 million amphetamine pills last week.