By Innovation-sa on July 11, 2018 in News

The Emirates NBD/IHS Markit Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a measure of non-oil business conditions, escalated to 55 in June from 53.2 in May, indicating the highest level of growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector in 2018.


“Overall, the June PMI data supports our view that the non-oil sector is recovering after a slow start to the year,” explained Khatija Haque, head of MENA Research at Emirates NBD.


Saudi economy is slightly recovering from the economic slowdown in 2017 and non-oil business conditions have benefitted from increased government spending, as well as recovery in oil prices. Export orders also increased for the first time since January, though the increase is relatively slight compared to historic standards. Increased output and new work contributed to the overall improvement in growth, the survey found.


The Kingdom’s quantity of purchases index also rose to 56 from 53 in May, indicating a rise in purchasing activity. However, businesses in Saudi Arabia remain vigilant, with the future output index declining sharply to 56.8 in June.


Arab News – 3 July 2018

By Innovation-sa on July 1, 2018 in News

As King Salman’s decree to allow women to drive comes into action, experts predict a positive impact on the Saudi Arabian economy and boom in retail trade as well as banking sector, reported Al-Madina newspaper.


“Women driving would increase car sales by 15 percent in the big run. It will also contribute to increasing the number of Saudi women workers”, said Ali Rida, deputy chairman of the national committee for automobile agencies.


Meanwhile, experts predict 20 percent rise in motor vehicle insurance sales as well. Adel Al-Eissa, spokesman of insurance companies, noted that women behind the wheels will add a new group of customers to the Kingdom’s car insurance market and depict a notable boon in this sector.


Moreover, additional front office job openings at insurance firms will be open for Saudi women, said Muhammed Hadal, another insurance specialist.


Saudi Gazette –  26 June 2018

By Innovation-sa on July 1, 2018 in News

Local tourism is on the rise in Saudi Arabia with over 44.5 million local trips made in 2017 and total spending’s crossing SR47.9 billion, according to a report published by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).


Accommodations for local tourism is also experiencing a sharp growth, reaching a total of 7,385 licenced establishments with an increase of 426 percent from 2009 to 2017, and around 43 international hotels.


Meanwhile, the potential for a significant expansion in Saudi Arabia’s digital tourism industry has attracted several companies. Clear Trip, the second largest online travel agency in India, attracted by the possibilities in Saudi Arabia, acquired the famous Saudi travel aggregator Flyin.


Several initiatives undertaken by the public sector to achieve objectives of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 is easing domestic tourism and digital transformation and has also helped in the growth of the sector.


Arab News –  30 June 2018

By Innovation-sa on July 1, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa Oasis, an evolving cultural landscape, has been officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, announced Prince Sulthan bin Salman, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).


Al-Ahsa Oasis, the fifth Saudi site to join UNESCO’s World Heritage Site after Madain Saleh (2008), Tarif neighbourhood in Diriyah (2010), Historic Jeddah (2014), and the Rock art in the Hail region (2015), is expected to bring further boon to the Kingdom’s tourism industry.


With more than 3 million trees, Al-Ahsa is the largest date palm oasis in the world and is home to the world famous khalasah dates. The site, located to the east of the Kingdom, has settlements since Neolithic times and shows signs of ways humans have interacted with the environment. It is a “serial property comprising gardens, canals, springs, wells, a drainage lake, as well as historical buildings, urban fabric and archaeological sites”, UNESCO said in a statement.


Arab News –  30 June 2018

By Innovation-sa on June 25, 2018 in News

Women in Saudi Arabia finally hit the roads early on Sunday steering their way through the busy streets after the world’s last remaining ban on women driving was lifted.


The historic reform is expected to usher in a new era of social mobility as well as boost the Kingdom’s income, and according to Bloomberg estimate, add $90 billion to economic output by 2030.


Authorities said that more than 120,000 women have applied for licenses, and a handful of driving schools that serve women have months-long waiting lists already.


Amongst several economic and social changes spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman last year, ending the driving ban on women is one of the most socially-consequential reforms and 24 June 2018 will be remembered as a landmark day in the history of Saudi Arabia.


“Ending the ban means women will be more empowered and more mobile and I think they will participate more in the job market over time, so I think its going to contribute to employment of females in Saudi Arabia.” Said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih in Vienna, where he was attending an OPEC meeting. “A secondary effect will probably be higher gasoline demand”, he added.


The benchmark Tadawul All Share Index rose 1.76 percent on Sunday, buoyed partly by the insurance sector, which could benefit from more drivers on the roads.


Meanwhile, social media is abuzz with tweets and posts from Saudi women, officials, businessmen and even international celebrities celebrating the historic moment and congratulating Saudi women on this revolutionary day.


Bloomberg –  24 June 2018

By Innovation-sa on June 10, 2018 in News

In a move to protect the Kingdom’s natural environment and wildlife and to transform them into tourist destinations, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued a royal decree establishing the Council of Royal Reserves under the chairmanship of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman.

Nine areas have been designated as royal reservations and their board of directors has been appointed to help promote natural landscapes as tourist destinations as well as to limit overfishing and overgrazing, prevent deforestation and maintain and encourage vegetation. The designated areas will not be fenced off because they are public property.

The royal order declared that each natural reserve must have its own independent management and budget and allowed a three-month duration to the Experts Commission at the Council of Ministers to appoint qualified leaders to manage each reserve.

The scope of ecotourism is on the rise globally and the nine locations identified by the royal decree will help the Kingdom become a renowned ecotourism hub in the Middle East. Its rich flora and fauna, as well as biological, geological, and genetic diversity that have tremendous potential to withstand harsh environmental conditions, will attract global tourists and provide alternate sources of income to the Kingdom in line with Vision 2030.


By Innovation-sa on June 10, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter has seen a boost in its revenues after the recent surge in oil prices, noted Capital Economics, a London-based think-tank group on Tuesday.

The Kingdom has pulled itself out of recession and depicted a 1.5 percent economic growth in the first quarter of 2018, after having shrunk by 0.7 percent last year.

Oil prices escalated to approximately $80 a barrel last month from under $30 a barrel in early 2016 after OPEC and non-OPEC producers hit a deal to cut output. The crash in oil prices dipped the Kingdom into negative territory last year for the first time since 2009, a year after the global financial crisis.

To overcome the crisis, the Saudi government has announced a budget deficit in the last four years, borrowed from domestic and international markets, hiked fuel and power prices as well as introduced a five-percent value-added tax from January 2018.

Jadwa Investment, a Riyadh-based investment company said on Monday that Saudi fiscal reserves rose by $13.2 billion in April, marking its largest monthly increase since October 2013.


By Innovation-sa on June 4, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia is all set to adopt a digital platform in line with the objectives of Vision 2030. Mohammed Al-Jadaan, the Kingdom’s Finance Minister announced obtaining King Salman’s royal decree which calls for suspending paperwork of all procedural and financial transactions, in a final transitional move towards e-governing.

The ruling ordered all ministries and government agencies to install a digital system within 60 days and scrap paper documents related to financial transactions and other procedures at the earliest.

State bodies who fail to meet the government requirement within the specified time should send their explanation to the finance ministry in participation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

The Etimad digital platform was launched earlier in January with the aim of providing digital financial services to the public and private sectors.

Jadaan noted that e-services will greatly reduce time and effort as well as increase transparency of government transactions and operations. Furthermore, a fully developed digital system would open more competitive lines for SMEs.


By Innovation-sa on May 30, 2018 in News

The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) urged value-added tax (VAT) registered companies and entities whose annual value of taxable goods and services exceed SR40 million to file their tax declaration for the month of April by May 31, 2018.

Meanwhile, enterprises whose supplies of taxable goods and services total SR40 million or less are required to file their tax declarations every three months.

A fine of 5 to 25 percent of the tax amount will be imposed on businesses and enterprises that fail to submit their declaration within the specified time, in addition to a fine for the delayed payment of tax due, which is equivalent to 5 percent of the value of the unpaid tax per month or part of the tax that was not paid.


By Innovation-sa on May 30, 2018 in News

In line with the government directives to unify paydays for all state employees according to the Gregorian calendar, the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) announced that it will switch to the Gregorian calendar from June for the payment of pensions to retired employees and to family members of the deceased retirees.

In accordance with the social insurance system, the organization will deposit pensions in the accounts of beneficiaries and family members of the deceased and compensate unemployed people at the beginning of each month starting from June 2018, announced Abdullah bin Muhammed Al-Abdul Jabbar, spokesperson for GOSI. He added that since June 1 falls on a Friday, GOSI would start distributing payments on May 31.

GOSI, a semi-state body that enjoys administrative and financial independence, spends more than SR1.7 billion every year to pay pensions benefitting more than 360,000 citizens.