Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it will offer tax incentives for foreign companies that locate their regional headquarters in the kingdom, including a 30-year exemption for corporate income tax.

The world’s top oil exporter announced in February 2021 plans to cease awarding government contracts to companies whose regional headquarters are not located in the kingdom by Jan. 1, 2024.

The move is part of efforts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the economy off oil by creating new industries that would generate jobs for Saudis.

The Saudi programme to attract the regional headquarters of international companies is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Investment and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City. The programme aims to attract international companies to establish their regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia and make the kingdom the first choice for these companies in the Middle East and North Africa region, by providing a set of benefits and distinctive support services.

The tax exemption package for regional headquarters includes a zero per cent rate for the income tax of the regional entity and for the withholding tax on approved activities of those entities for 30 years, state news agency SPA reported.

International companies will benefit from the tax exemption package starting from the date their licences are issued, it added.

The programme has so far attracted 200 foreign companies, Saudi Investment minister Khaled Al-Falih was quoted as saying.

“The new tax exemptions granted on regional headquarters activities will give …. international companies in the kingdom more clarity of vision and stability,” Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said, according to SPA.

“We look forward to welcoming more international companies to participate in projects in all sectors, including mega projects, and our preparations to host major events such as the Asian Winter Games in 2029, and the Expo 2030,” Jadaan added.

Foreign companies have scrambled to meet the Saudi condition to relocate their regional headquarters after the kingdom said in October the deadline will be enforced.