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Saudi Arabia tells government officials to ‘limit’ use of foreign advisers

Published: Updated:

Government entities across Saudi Arabia have been told to limit their use of foreign consultants and advisory firms, unless absolutely necessary, a senior Saudi government official told Al Arabiya English on Sunday.

In recent months, a communique issued by the Saudi Royal Court directed public institutions across a wide range of sectors to seek local advisors before approaching foreign companies for consultancy jobs, the official said.

After launching its Vision 2030 reform program in 2015 to liberalize the economy and ease dependence on oil revenues, Saudi Arabia introduced strict Saudization, or nationalization efforts, to pivot away from its reliance on expatriate workers.

A few years ago the Shoura Council, Saudi Arabia’s formal advisory body, discussed the relationship of government agencies and foreign companies, according to a report by Saudi Gazette. The council had made a recommendation to provide more consultancy work for Saudi firms.

The value of contracts to foreign firms was estimated to be around 12 billion Saudi riyals ($3.2 billion) at the time, the Saudi Gazette said, quoting the General Auditing Bureau.