|Riyadh: Saudi Arabia plans to set up at least six more large industrial parks and hand out contracts worth up to $1.6 billion to equip them as part of efforts to diversify the economy away from oil. |
Saudi Arabia is rolling out investments worth $400 billion until 2013 to upgrade infrastructure, build roads, power plants, utilities or universities.
To attract investments, the government is creating so-called industrial cities across the kingdom which offer cheap leases and other subsidised government services.
The total area of parks would rise to 71 million sq m in a first step and later to more than 100 million sq m, up from 42 million, said Tawfig Fozan Al-Rabiah, head of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority which develops the industrial zones.
The government wants to offer tenders worth 5-6 billion riyals ($1.3-$1.6 billion) in the next five years to equip these cities with services such as housing compounds or utilities.
Contracts would be signed on a build-operate-transfer basis under which an investor typically runs a project for the government over a limited period of time.
Other zones in the works are in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, in Dammam in the oil producing Eastern Province, as well as in underdeveloped areas near the Yemeni and Iraqi borders.
In total, the kingdom plans to attract private sector investments worth 75 billion to 100 billion riyals in five years for industrial cities.