Al-Hogail: 400,000 active commercial licenses in the retail sector since 2019; we worked to set regulations and requirements in partnership with the private sector

Mr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, the Minister of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing, revealed that the total number of active commercial licenses in the retail sector from 2019 until the end of last year 2023 exceeded 400,000 licenses. Efforts to stimulate the sector resulted in issuing no less than 70,000 licenses annually, recording a steady growth rate of approximately 6%. He emphasized that ongoing work is being done to ensure the quality of services provided to beneficiaries and consumers, as well as maintaining health and safety standards and improving the urban landscape in cities.

These statements were made during his participation in the tenth edition of the Retail Leaders Circle MENA Summit, hosted by the Kingdom, to discuss and explore everything that contributes to the development and advancement of the retail sector, which positively impacts the level of services reaching the end consumer.

Al-Hogail pointed out that the retail sector is of utmost importance as a major driver of the economy and the local GDP of all countries, given the expansion of markets and the increasing number of companies operating in the sector. The diverse access channels and the traditional and digital business models further enhance competition and contribute to sustainable economic development, in addition to providing employment and investment opportunities for all establishments, including small and medium-sized ones.

He mentioned that the retail sector contributes 23% to the non-oil GDP in the Kingdom, while the average occupancy rates of the retail sector in Riyadh and Jeddah reached 88% in 2023. It is expected that the sector will grow to more than 460 billion riyals by the end of this year.

The Minister of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing affirmed that the Kingdom has worked on implementing several legislations to support the retail sector, regulate its operations, ensure its sustainability and effectiveness, and provide solutions, services, and incentives to attract investors and overcome obstacles. MOMRAH has a close connection to this sector through various elements, including infrastructure, real estate, and urban planning.

He added, "We have taken significant steps towards developing and improving the sector through enacting legislation, regulations, and necessary requirements in integration and partnership with the private sector, including investors and entrepreneurs in various fields. We have held numerous meetings and workshops with chambers of commerce in all regions, aiming to enhance the standards of commercial and investment activities and update licensing and control regulations while promoting transparency in legislation and procedures."

Al-Hogail also highlighted the continuous efforts in collaboration with relevant entities to build capacities and develop skills according to the current needs of the labor market, as well as anticipate future requirements to empower the local workforce in the retail sector. Additionally, efforts are being made to encourage private sector establishments to increase job attractiveness, improve work models, provide incentives, and create an attractive environment for Saudi workers.

It is worth mentioning that the municipal and housing system is working on redesigning cities to enhance their development and the well-being of their residents by prioritizing green areas, eco-friendly transportation, and infrastructure, in addition to comprehensive housing projects.