Investment opportunities for Indian firms and more jobs for Indian professionals opening up in Saudi Arabia
Good investment opportunities for Indian firms as well as more jobs for Indian professionals are likely to open up in Saudi Arabia in light of the gulf country’s increased public expenditure outlay in the infrastructure sector, particularly the US$500 billion futuristic mega city Project “NEOM” and the Red Sea Tourism Project. Immense scope and opportunities for Indian firms exist in the infrastructure sector and it remains to be seen how much business they bring to India.
These projects are part of a much bigger mega development project ‘Vision 2030’, which is essentially an economic blueprint that seeks to transform the Kingdom from a petro-state to an industrial manufacturing-based productive economy. Its over-arching goals are to achieve a private sector-led self-sustained economy, an open and vibrant society, and a progressive and developed country. In short, Vision 2030, announced by the young and ambitious Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is a big initiative having potential to expand Saudi economy through major structural changes and mega projects like NEOM, new railroads, airports and sea ports and Qiddiya entertainment city.
In this regard, talking to a leading Indian daily recently, Saudi envoy to India – Ambassador Saud bin Mohammed al-Sati said: “Vision 2030 will lead to new opportunities for Indian firms and professionals in areas such as hospitality, tourism, IT and entertainment.” Elaborating further, the envoy said: “It’s very natural when you expand your economy and introduce mega projects like NEOM, new railroads, airports and sea ports and Qiddiya entertainment city, the expectation is there will be more jobs. New jobs will be created for our citizens and India will continue to be a close and strong partner with Saudi Arabia.”
The envoy further disclosed that he had held exploratory talks with an Indian firm to participate in Qiddiya entertainment city, a planned 334 sq km hub with amusement and theme parks and race tracks, while an Indian firm has visited the kingdom to explore the possibility of opening movie theatres after the easing of restrictions on screenings. In recent past, some Indian firms have already created their presence in Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority lately issuing more than 400 licenses to Indian firms. Still Indian firms have a chance to participate in Saudi Arabia’s plans to boost tourism through the opening up of cultural and historic sites and creation of transport infrastructure such as the high-speed 450-km railway line linking Mecca and Medina and a new airport in Jeddah. The Ambassador also informed of emerging opportunities in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and invited Indian exporters to take advantage of the strategic King Abdullah sea port in Jeddah.
Keeping these developments in mind, Ministry of External Affairs has asked Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) to mount a delegation of 25-30 leading Indian companies to Riyadh, who are dealing in Infrastructure and Housing sectors. Embassy of India in Riyadh would be extending all assistance in arranging meetings with Ministry officials, business chambers, top Saudi businessmen and visit to any major construction sites, if required. The Embassy has also suggested November 27-28, 2018 as the date for this important business delegation.
Purpose of this delegation will be to try for Indian companies getting as much of this business possible. In this regard, TPCI is also in the process of tying up with leading industry players as well as trade organizations of infrastructure and housing players in the country.
India’s nearly 3.2 million expatriates are already sending $10 billion of annual remittances back home. Saudi Arabia is among India’s top three energy suppliers and the country’s fourth largest trade partner, and bilateral trade during 2016-17 was worth $25 billion.