Hyderabad, March 5: Saudi-Indian Business Council (SIBC) chairman Abdulrahman Alrabiah Tuesday invited Indian businessmen to invest in engineering, infrastructure, education, Information Technology and energy sectors in Saudi Arabia.
He asked the business communities to build on the foundation laid by the two countries for close business and investment relations.
Alrabiah, who is leading a 23-member Saudi business delegation to India, Tuesday had an interaction with some businessmen here at a meeting organized by the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) here.
Later, talking to reporters, he said that while there was tremendous potential for collaboration in various sectors, the business community was not coming forward to tap it.
“The governments have done their job. The King came here and the prime minister of India visited Saudi Arabia. The two countries have the best relations. Now it is for the business community to come forward,” he said while pointing out that no major company participated in the interaction.
Hyderabad is the first stop of the delegation, which will also be visiting Delhi and Lucknow.
Earlier, addressing the businessmen, Alrabiah urged the Indian business community to come and enjoy the development of Saudi Arabia.
“Our long time friend India is already helping us but we would like them to increase their share in our market. We have the need and you have the knowledge and expertise,” he said.
He said Saudi Arabian offer $624 billion investment opportunity by 2020 in infrastructure, petrochemicals, water, IT, healthcare, education, food and other sectors.
The head of the business delegation said the kingdom’s non-oil sector was growing at faster rate than the oil sector.
The GDP is growing at 6.8 percent. During 2012, while the oil sector grew by 5.5, the growth in the non-oil sector was 7.2 percent. The Kingdom’s 2013 budget will be $219 billion.
Replying to a question, he said lot of changes were made in the regulations and procedures to ease the business.
“The system in Saudi Arabia now is that you can have your own 100 percent company,” he said, adding, however, it was ideal to have a local partner to make things easy.
On a question raised by one of the participants about the problems in obtaining visas, he said his country was working hard to ease the situation.
“When I go to American embassy, it takes one day to get five-year multiple visa, when I go to UK embassy, I get 10-year multiple visa. In India even if I am chairman, they give me a three month single visa even with a big letter from chamber of commerce,” he said.
“But we believe one problem can’t be solved with another problem. This will create obstacles for business. So we are working hard and practically to address the issue,” he added.
Devendra Surana, president, FAPCCI, pointed out that the bilateral trade between the two countries in 2011-12 exceeded $36 billion. Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest trading partner for India and is also the 14th largest market in the world for Indian exports.
The members of Saudi delegation later had one-on-one meetings with businessmen to explore the business opportunities. The delegation includes representatives from engineering, food, consultation, real estate, consultancy and other companies.