Saudi Arabia’s PIF starts new firm to develop private security sector in the kingdom

PIF to inject $40bn per year in 2021 and 2022 to promote growth in its economy

The Kingdom Tower, operated by Kingdom Holding Co., left, stands alongside the King Fahd highway, illuminated by the light trails of passing traffic, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Saudi Arabian stocks led Gulf Arab markets lower after oil extended its slump from the lowest close since 2004. Photographer: Waseem Obaidi/Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is starting a new company to develop the private security sector in the kingdom.

The National Security Services Company, also known as Safe, will focus on providing services such as security consulting, training and development and other specialst services, according to a statement by the fund on its website.

“The establishment of Safe is in line with PIF’s investment strategy to contribute to Vision 2030 by launching and developing new sectors and enabling the private sector,” the fund said.

With $360 billion in assets under management, PIF is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. It is playing an important role in the diversification of the country's economy and is investing in a number of projects in the kingdom including the $500bn Neom economic zone, the Qiddiya project in Riyadh and a tourism project at the Red Sea.

Within the past four years, the fund invested $83bn in the country's economy leading to the creation of more than 190,000 new jobs, according to PIF. It was also responsible for the development of more than 30 new companies.

Last month, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said PIF will inject $40bn per year in 2021 and 2022 into the kingdom's economy to promote growth.

“Economic diversification is key to the kingdom’s sustainability, and we are working hard to achieve this through PIF investments in tourism, sports, industry, agriculture, transportation, mining, space and other sectors,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is projecting growth of 3.2 per cent in 2021 as the kingdom recovers from a slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and it continues to spend on infrastructure projects.

The kingdom plans to spend 990bn riyals ($264bn) next year, 7.5 per cent less than in 2020, with projected revenue of 849bn riyals and a deficit of 141bn riyals, or 4.9 per cent of gross domestic product, King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in an online cabinet session that approved the 2021 budget earlier this month.