SR3b bid for food security

Saudi Press Agency | 14 April 2009

RIYADH – The Cabinet on Monday approved establishing a SR3 billion agricultural investments company that will partner the Saudi private sector in the quest to achieve food security in the Kingdom.

The move is in response to an appeal by King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to ease the burden of high cost of living on citizen and expatriate, said Ibrahim Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance and GIF Chairman.

To be called Saudi Company for Agricultural Investment and Animal Production (SCAIAP), the new joint-stock company will be fully owned by the General Investment Fund (GIF).

SCAIAP will invest in establishing agriculture and livestock production companies in partnership with Saudi businesses experienced in the sector, which have already expressed an interest in participating in the company and its upcoming projects abroad, Al-Assaf said.

SCAIAP’s board of directors will have three members from the private sector, the minister said.

Government participation will allow SCAIAP to benefit from bilateral and multilateral agreements signed between the Kingdom and other countries, in terms of privileges and exemptions from investment restrictions, customs tariffs, taxes, import and export curbs, as well as limitations on recruitment of foreign expertise.

Al-Assaf said SCAIAP will seek to conclude investment agreements with host countries that offer abundant water supply, fertile agricultural land or natural pastures.

SCAIAP will enjoy financial support from the government and from international institutions that get funding from Saudi Arabia, for its capital, infrastructure and operational needs, which include constructing irrigation channels, sanitary drainage networks, water pumping stations, electricity supply, public utilities and also support services such as roads, railways, ports and ferries.
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