Saudi to issue immediate healthcare licences, exempt SMEs from fees

The kingdom is undertaking plans to privatise its healthcare sector

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday it would begin granting immediate electronic licences for 12 health activities and exempt small and medium enterprises from licence fees.

The activities covered by the change are described as “less serious” including support roles for health centres and pharmaceutical activities, according to Saudi Press Agency.

Firms can apply through the health services portal

The ministry said the move was designed to boost private sector involvement in healthcare amid a wider plan to privatise the sector.

This aims to see the privatisation of 290 hospitals and 2,300 primary healthcare centres by 2030.

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The ministry also said it had reached a deal with the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises to exempt SMEs from licence service fees, including fees for health practitioner licences.

The ministry said this would “facilitate the start of healthy commercial activity, support the growth of small and medium enterprises in the health sector, increase their contribution to domestic product, ease the financial burden on entrepreneurs and encourage them to benefit from easy electronic services”.