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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources issued 158 industrial licenses in October 2023, representing a rise of 97.4 percent compared to the same month of the previous year.

The food manufacturing sector took the lead with 31 permits followed by non-metallic minerals industry with 21, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

A total of 17 licenses were issued to non-ferrous metal manufacturing, except for the machinery and equipment sector, while the rubber and plastics production industry received 11 permits. Additionally, 11 licenses were issued to the electric equipment manufacturing sector.

The SPA report noted that the total number of industrial licenses issued by the ministry from the beginning of this year until the end of October amounted to 1,127.

With the issuance of these new licenses, the number of existing factories in the Kingdom reached 11,388, with an investment of SR1.50 trillion ($400 billion).

The investment volume in terms of new licenses stood at SR11.5 billion.

Small enterprises accounted for 83.87 percent of the new permits, followed by medium enterprises at 12.03 percent and micro-enterprises at 3.8 percent.

According to the report, national factories accounted for the largest percentage of the total licenses, with 77.85 percent, followed by foreign establishments and joint-investment firms, with 10.76 percent and 11.39 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, 113 factories started their production in the month of October, with an investment volume of SR12.23 million. 

In terms of the type of investments, 74.34 percent of the establishments that started production were national factories, while 16.81 percent and 8.85 percent were foreign firms and joint ventures.

Developing the industrial sector is quite crucial for Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom is currently on a steady economic diversification effort, aligned with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.

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