SAGIA, MoCI, sports and tourism authorities and other entities reformed as ministries, human resources and social development consolidated.

A number of Royal Orders enacted on 01/07/1441 H (corresponding to Tuesday 25/02/2020 G) have made significant changes to a range of well-known government entities. Notably:

  1. The Ministry of the Civil Service will be merged with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development under a new name, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
  2. The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) will be transformed into a ministry named the Ministry of Investment.
  3. The Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI or MoCI) will become the Ministry of Trade.
  4. General Authority for Sports will be transformed into a ministry called the Ministry of Sport.
  5. The General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage will be transformed into a ministry called the Ministry of Tourism.

Existing administrative, financial and other regulations applicable to the pre-reform bodies shall continue to apply to their successors. The Bureau of Experts (a body within the Council of Ministers which considers new laws) in coordination with other relevant stakeholders will, within three months, carry out the following:

  1. Complete the necessary procedures to implement the order, including transferring and defining terms of reference, bodies, personnel, jobs, property, items, credits, and others.
  2. Review the laws, regulations, orders, royal decrees and decisions affected by the foregoing and propose any necessary amendments.

The Royal Orders are available in Arabic at the following address.

On their face, the above changes are aligned with the general push in the Kingdom towards the achievement of Vision 2030. Some of the reform clearly addresses and rationalises instances of duplicated or overlapping governmental authority. The elevation to full ministry status of SAGIA and the tourism and sports authorities underlines the determination in Saudi government to boost foreign investment, tourism (much in the news already this year with the introduction of a tourist visa) and sports participation. On the employment side, housing state and private sector employees under the same administrative roof makes sense particularly in the context of the Kingdom's ambitious privatisation agenda. How the newly consolidated and elevated entities use their enhanced status remains to be seen, but signal is clear that the economic and social transformation agenda in these areas continues to be a major priority.