DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Saudi Arabi’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on April 24 approved a privatization program, a move that paves the way for the potential sale of four flour milling companies by the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO). The privatization is one of the 12 key elements of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which is focused on creating jobs and supporting economic development

“The privatization program will increase employment opportunities of national workforce, attract the latest technologies and innovations as well as support economic development by involving qualified enterprises in providing these services to increase private sector’s contribution in GDP from 40% to 65% by 2030,” the Saudi Press Agency said. “The privatization program, which targeted various service sectors, such as energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, petrochemicals and financial sector, is based on three basic pillars: laying the legal/regulatory foundations; laying the institutional foundations; and directing the main program initiatives.”

A report from Reuters earlier this year suggested that Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Bunge Ltd. may have interest in the flour mills.

The flour mills have a combined daily milling capacity of 12,630 tonnes (wheat equivalent) and process 3.3 million tonnes of wheat annually.

SAGO, the state grain purchaser for Saudi Arabia, is one of the world’s largest wheat and barley buyers. Saudi Arabia has been a major wheat importer since 2008 when it abandoned its plans for self-sufficiency.