Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, the Minister of Commerce, announced a significant 32% growth in commercial registrations in the Northern Frontiers region over the last five years, reaching 15,442 by the end of Q3. This surge is attributed to the development of key sectors in the region, including mining, phosphates, transportation, and logistics, aligning with the strategic objectives of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.
At the Northern Frontiers Investment Forum's ministerial session, Dr. Al-Qasabi highlighted Saudi Arabia's extraordinary transformation under Vision 2030. He emphasized the Kingdom's role as a thriving investment landscape, abundant with opportunities that are being actively promoted to global investors. He was joined by the Minister of Investment, Engineer Khalid Al-Falih, the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Engineer Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Mohammed Al-Sudairy, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Engineer Khaled Al-Mudaifer, and the CEO of Ma'aden, Robert Wilt and industry leaders.
Al-Qasabi also outlined significant legislative advancements, noting over 70 new laws developed in the past seven years. These include critical reforms in company, franchise, e-commerce, and anti-commercial concealment laws. Further, he mentioned ongoing efforts to introduce stimulating regulations for the commercial sector, including consumer protection and commercial transactions, aiming to enhance the Kingdom's business environment.
The Saudi Center for Economic Affairs plays a crucial role in aiding entrepreneurs and business owners, offering 750 services through 17 branches across 14 cities in the Kingdom. This initiative, supported by ten government agencies and additional services provided by over 60 liaison officers, has seen the "Business Platform" deliver more than a million services to entrepreneurs and investors in 2023.
Discussing the impact of recent legislative and procedural reforms, he highlighted Saudi Arabia's leap in global competitiveness rankings in 2023, achieving 17th place out of 64 countries – a first for the Kingdom. This achievement is further bolstered by its third-place ranking among G20 nations, driven by robust economic performance.
In terms of consumer protection, the Ministry of Commerce introduced five new electronic laws this year, including tools for evaluating e-commerce stores, monitoring inventory, and overseeing surveillance and inspection. Notably, in the Northern Borders region, there was a 62% reduction in commercial violations from the previous year, with over 22,000 inspection visits conducted to ensure compliance among businesses.
Al-Qasabi highlighted the National Program for Combating Commercial Concealment's success, noting its launch of six corrective measures. The program saw over 18,000 rectification requests completed, including 13,000 with investment licenses, impacting over 373,000 workers in rectified establishments.
He also shed light on the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises' significant role in the Northern Frontiers, citing the "Kafalah" program's provision of over 296 million riyals in financing, benefiting more than 845 entrepreneurs and business owners.
Concluding his remarks, Al-Qasabi looked forward to making this forum a regular event, emphasizing the need for dedicated working groups to focus on promising sectors. These groups would collate and present opportunities, challenges, and achievements in upcoming forums, furthering the region's development.