Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) Director-General Khalid Al-Salem has reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to developing smart industrial cities that meet the needs of both national and foreign investors.
Today, the size of developed industrial lands in Saudi Arabia exceeds 198.8 million square meters. MODON has ensured that operations and management of industrial cities in the Kingdom are run according to the highest international standards.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Salem revealed that Saudi Arabia has successfully attracted over 4,000 industrial contracts that encompass different sectors and involve more than SR367 billion ($98 billion).
He also noted that recently signed agreements helped attract Chinese quality industries to the Kingdom.
Speaking about the role played by women in developing national industries, Al-Salem acknowledged that it was vital.
He noted that the number of Saudi women working in the industrial cities overseen by MODON had increased by nearly 120% to reach 17,000 female workers by the end of Q1 2020. This is a significant hike from the 7,860-figure recorded in 2018.
Saudi women are finding more employment as private and government bodies strive to reach qualified women across the Kingdom’s economic sectors.
As for Saudi women investors in the Kingdom’s industrial sectors, Al-Salem said they represent 1% of total investors but stressed that work is underway to raise their share to 20%. He noted that this will be achieved in partnership with both the private and public sectors.
Launching the “Industry Ladies Conference 2020” represents one of the many examples of efforts spent by Saudi authorities to support the empowerment of women investors in industrial sectors, noted Al-Salem.
He revealed that MODON is looking to transform the female-focused forum to an annual event for dealing with investment opportunities in the Kingdom and addressing challenges inhibiting the role of women in the industrial sector.
Despite MODON having come a long way in its journey to increase Saudi women participation in the Kingdom’s industrial sector, Al-Salem reaffirmed that the authority is still striving toward more women empowerment.
He added that MODON has made the industrial sector more attractive to women through innovative financing products, services and solutions that suit their important role in the national economy.
Incentives for working women include the launch of industrial oases, which are characterized by the availability of nurseries, parking spaces and medical and recreational centers.
These oases host clean industries such as medical and food industries, rubber and high-tech industries, as well as prefabricated factories supporting women entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises, noted Al-Salem.
He added that 2021 will see the launch of small, prefabricated factories to enable women’s investments in the industrial city of Dammam, a first for the Kingdom.
MODON has successfully implemented a range of initiatives that helped in easing and limiting the fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic, affirmed Al-Salem.
The authority has cut annual rents by 25% until 2020-end and delayed the payment of other fees for 90 days for factories, he noted, asserting that these measures fall within the Saudi initiative to support the industrial sector.
This initiative includes the exemption from fees related to engineering schemes and contracts amendment until year-end. It also comprises extending the timeframe for the construction works of factories from 24 months to 36 months, in addition to extending the operation license term until end of year.
Al-Salem added that MODON has conducted 1,557 field inspections to ensure that industrial institutions in the Kingdom are following precautionary and preventative measures designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.