RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has worked with the International Monetary Fund to improve the quality and transparency of its foreign direct investment statistics to bring them into line with world’s best practice when they are published this year, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
The Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia, the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) and the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia, with technical assistance from the IMF, have used a new methodology for the Kingdom’s FDI reporting, according to the SPA.
Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said the new methodology was part of the continuing reforms and upgrades to data accuracy and transparency taking place in Saudi Arabia, while the economy and investment ecosystem continues to mature off the back of Vision 2030 and the National Investment Strategy.
“Saudi Arabia offers investors access to the fast-growing Saudi market, the largest in the region, and provides an excellent platform to access regional growth opportunities across the Middle East and beyond,” he said. “Improving the transparency and quality of the Kingdom’s FDI statistics (means) investors will be able to make much more confident and informed decisions, while the Kingdom itself will be able to adapt its policies to attract even more investment.
“The Kingdom’s performance in capital formation and attracting FDI has steadily improved, as the data will validate, cementing the Kingdom’s position as a top investment destination.
“And we are working every day to attract investors from all over the world to Saudi Arabia, whether through the launch of the National Investment Strategy, the development of special economic zones, the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, or our giga-projects,” Al-Falih added.
GASTAT’s president, Fahad Abdullah Aldossari, told the SPA that the FDI methodology is IMF-approved and aligns with its Balance of Payments Manual. He also stated that the methodology will improve accuracy.
“FDI statistics will help decision-makers design policies in order to create an attractive investment ecosystem and highlight the investment opportunities in the Kingdom,” he said.
“Through this methodology, GASTAT seeks to diversify data sources, increase reliability on sources, and provide more detailed statistics, such as the FDI stock and inflows based on economic activity and countries investing in the Kingdom. Moreover, GASTAT provides FDI data using quarterly surveys.
“This comes as part of GASTAT’s efforts to provide accurate and comprehensive statistical data with high quality and transparency,” he added.
The deputy minister for Economic Affairs and Investment Studies, Saad Alshahrani, said access to accurate data was crucial not only to measure progress and development, but also to improve and monitor the local economy and performance of Saudi investment.
“Over the last two years, (the ministry) has painstakingly gone back through the individual financial statements of thousands of businesses. In all, some 70,000 data files have been created for the update, which will help to determine investment priorities and to monitor the performance across sectors and source countries,” Alshahrani said.
In its recent Article IV consultation, the IMF expressed its support for the Kingdom’s efforts to improve the compilation of FDI data.
“Staff welcome ongoing plans to refine FDI data compilation based on recent statistical manuals and guides, with help from Fund technical assistance,” the report stated.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has confirmed that the new methodology follows international standards in accordance with the IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual, while the World Bank supports the recommendations made by the IMF in its technical assistance report on Saudi Arabia.