Over the past decade, Saudi Arabia has taken steps to stimulate the country’s economy through privatization. The government’s vision is embodied in the form of “Vision 2030”, which conceptualizes an economically and financially sustainable kingdom with transparent, business-friendly regulations and less reliance on the public sector. Saudi Arabia passed the Privatization Law earlier this year, and the law entered into force on July 24th. The final legislative step is the approval of the Privatization Law’s Executive Regulations.
The Executive Regulations provide a stage-by-stage guide for privatization projects and the prerequisites for obtaining government approval. They also allow for the drafting of project documents in internationally recognized languages such as English and French instead of only in Arabic. Another important facet of the regulations is the availability of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism instead of the mandatory jurisdiction of the Saudi courts. Finally, the government is granted a certain level of discretion to approve privatization projects in the national interest, even if they do not meet every criterion as mandated by the law.