Businesses in Saudi Arabia face repercussions for ignoring COVID-19 regulations

The violations were detected by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority during inspection visits to a factory and four warehouses in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Updated 23 October 2020

Businesses in Saudi Arabia face repercussions for ignoring COVID-19 regulations

JEDDAH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has referred five establishments under its supervision to the Ministry of Interior due to their failure to adhere to COVID-19 precautionary measures.
The FDA announced that violations were detected during inspection visits to a factory and four warehouses in Jeddah. The violations were reported to the Interior Ministry to take action against violators.
The violations include a lack of commitment to safety instructions such as taking employee and customers’ temperature prior to entering the facility, wearing face-masks and securing sanitizers in designated places.
The authority had previously issued a detailed guidebook that addresses preventive requirements to help facilities of food, drugs, cosmetic and medical equipments to limit the virus outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry continues its inspection campaign — in place since the virus outbreak — on private health facilities to ensure compliance with precautionary and social distancing measures, where violators are to be referred to the concerned authorities.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly warned on Twitter against a second wave of COVID-19 in the Kingdom. “If we do not all adhere to the preventive measures and if the lack of cooperation and loosening of commitment continues, then we will be at risk of a second wave and an increase in case numbers,” he said. “We do not want to reach this stage.”
“The steps to prevent that are simple; wear a mask, keep a safe space, wash or sanitize your hands, take a test when you contact a confirmed case or witness symptoms in yourself.”
Saudi Arabia reported 401 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, meaning that 343,774 people have now contracted the disease. There are 8,343 active cases receiving medical care, while 791 are in critical condition.
In addition, 466 patients have recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 330,181.
The ministry also announced 15 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday. The death toll now stands at 5,250.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 7,562,663 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 53,523 carried out in the past 24 hours.


Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

Updated 27 November 2020

Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

JEDDAH: The two-day Step Saudi 2020 event featured two prominent Saudi figures in the field of investment on the second day.
Hashim Al-Awadi, CEO of Tech Invest, and Salman Jaffery, chief investment officer at Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, both shared their expertise, with the latter saying it is more beneficial for corporations to start a venture capital (VC) arm than invest from their current mergers and acquisitions arm (M&A).
Managing partner at Class 5 Global, Zach Finkelstein, who moderated the session on the second day of the event, said the San Francisco-based venture fund invested in a number of companies in the Middle East.
“The Middle East is particularly interesting to us, and in the past, our partners have invested in such regional companies as Careem. We’re excited to explore the development of the corporate VC space and how it can impact places like Saudi Arabia,” he added.
When asked why a corporation should start a VC arm instead of investing from an M&A team, and why have a separate corporate Venture Capital arm in the first place, Jaffery answered that “it brings faster results.”
“I think the easiest answer to that is just speed and agility,” he said. “Getting that response quickly to the market. VC deals can take weeks or months whereas an M&A transaction can take up to a year or longer, and also similarly, if you’re trying to then come out of it, it’s harder to come out of a joint venture agreement or an M&A as opposed to a VC.”
Al-Awadi explained his opinion a traditional VC perspective, and said: “We like the fact that corporations can invest from both their M&A arms and their VC arms if they have them.”
He highlighted that VC arms can invest in a greater variety of companies. “You have the intelligence, you know the market and if you’re looking at specific technology where we don’t have a lot of expertise we trust that you (other venture capitalists) know the market and you can evaluate that technology better to see if it has the capability and potential for growth or not.
“Eventually, you do have an M&A arm that will provide an exit for us, for an incentive for this company to work hard to grasp the intention after having been invested in by the VC arm of this big corporate to maybe look into making a partial agreement or complete acquisition, which really adds an incentive for the company to grow and attracts other investors and also attracts talent to join the company and help it grow even more.”
He said both the VC and M&A arm are important for company growth. “We tend to look at corporate investors through both arms as complementary to what we do when we have both of them around.”
The Kingdom has obtained a high reputation among investors internationally through the years, especially after the economic and social reforms of Saudi Vision 2030.
Step Saudi is home to the Kingdom’s best entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and digital enthusiasts. The last edition of Step Saudi featured four content tracks, more than 100 startups and over 1,500 attendees.