By Innovation-sa on December 6, 2017 in News

To fulfill its dream of attaining self-sufficiency in nuclear fuel production, Saudi Arabia has invited US companies to cooperate with the Kingdom to set up its nuclear power plants.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih emphasized that the Kingdom is only interested in developing nuclear technology for civilian use and will not involve in military purposes.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, KACARE, had earlier confirmed active discussions with France’s EDF and Toshiba owned Westinghouse.

Westinghouse is currently involved in discussions with several US companies to form a consortium for a multi-billion-dollar project to build two reactors in the Kingdom.

Nuclear reactors enrich Uranium to around 5 percent purity for domestic purposes, but the same technology can be used to enrich uranium to a higher grade for making weapons. This has been the concern of Western and other countries in the region.

However, Saudi Arabia has confirmed that it aims to attain nuclear power to diversify its energy sources. This would reduce the dependence on crude to generate electricity allowing the Kingdom to increase its crude oil export.

Saudi Arabia plans to gradually install up to 17 reactors with 17.6 gigawatts of atomic capacity by 2032.


By Innovation-sa on December 6, 2017 in News

Saudi Arabian and Iraqi companies signed 18 memorandums of understanding in the energy sector at the seventh session of Iraq International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition.

The MoUs were signed in the presence of Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Exports Development Authority Engineer Khalid Al-Falih and Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Alluaibi at Basra.

Saudi Arabia is participating at the exhibition as a guest of honor with a delegation of 22 firms focusing on energy and other industries.

Al-Falih said that there are many strategic advantages like human resources, geographic location, energy resources, natural and mineral resources and current and potential industries between Saudi Arabia and Iraq that would aid in developing a successful partnership between them.

Al-Alluaibi expressed his desire to establish cooperation and partnership with Saudi Arabia in future by signing the MoU’s and noted Saudi Arabia’s outstanding participation at the exhibition.


By Innovation-sa on December 3, 2017 in News

Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Saudi Aramco and chemical firm Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish an innovative crude oil to chemicals (COTC) complex worth $20 billion.

The planned COTC, which is expected to be the largest project in the world to convert crude oil to chemicals, and the first of its kind in the Kingdom, will commence its operations in 2025. It will convert 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day to about 9 million tonnes of chemicals and base oils annually.

The investment costs would be shared equally between Saudi Aramco and SABIC.

The venture aims to create 30,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the Kingdom. By 2030, it would contribute to 1.5% of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The COTC complex will showcase highly innovative configuration developed by Saudi teams, which will achieve a crude oil to chemical conversion that is unprecedented in history.

“This project converges the commercial and strategic interests of both Saudi Aramco and SABIC, while reinforcing Saudi Aramco’s efforts to optimize the investment of our petroleum resources”, said Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H.Nasser.

With the government’s decision to sell up to 5 percent of its shares next year as an initial public offering (IPO), Saudi Aramco has been on the move to expand its downstream portfolio. COTC will further aid the oil giant to reduce its focus on transportation sector and secure a promising future in the commercial sector.

Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, Vice Chairman and CEO of SABIC, said that the project will help realize Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which aims at achieving “economic prosperity by boosting our investment capacity, diversifying the economy and creating jobs for Saudi nationals”. Moreover, the new project would help SABIC to diversify and expand its operations, he added.

The two companies are in search of an ideal location for establishing COTC and Jeddah and Yanbu are under its prime consideration.


By Innovation-sa on December 3, 2017 in News

The Ministry of Commerce and Investment said that there has been an increase of 93 percent in tasattur cases under probe in the Kingdom in 2017.

As many as 781 cases of expatriates doing business in the names of Saudis for a fixed fees were brought to the attention of the attorney general before going to the court this year, compared to only 450 cases in 2016.

The details were published at “The National Program to Combat Commercial Tasattur” workshop held by the ministry at Riyadh headed by Dr. Majed Al- Qasabi.

The ministry also revealed an increase in inspection tours to check tasattur from 10,503 in 2016 to 14,701 in 2017. Moreover, 306 cases were referred to other ministries and government departments compared to 76 cases in 2016.

The workshop examined limitations faced by the government in fighting tasattur and called for further development of the existing systems to combat tasattur, intensify supervision and raise public awareness.

The workshop also urged to keenly observe financial sources of companies by asking them to deal with receipts and bills through bank accounts only and obtain detailed information of activities carried out by companies.


By Innovation-sa on December 3, 2017 in News

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development announced that gold and jewellery shops employing expatriates will be imposed a fine of SR 20,000 for each non-Saudi employee after December 3, 2017.

Khaled Aba Al-Khail, spokesman of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, said permanent inspectors will be appointed in malls and markets to track down violators and punish them after December 3.

The Kingdom currently has around 6,000 gold and jewellery shops with more than 25,000 employees. Despite government efforts to Saudize the sector since 2007, only about 50 percent is reported to have been nationalized till date.


By Innovation-sa on November 27, 2017 in News

With the Saudization of gold and jewellery shops to commence in 5 days, hundreds of shops are at a threat of closing down soon.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development issued an order last month demanding gold and jewellery shops to adhere to the Minister’s decision issued earlier in 2007 to nationalize gold and jewellery sector.

Mohammed Jameel Azouz, deputy chairman of the precious metal and gemstones committee asked gold and jewellery shops to employ Saudi citizens in all salesman positions in two weeks.

Khalid Aba Al-Khail, spokesperson for Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said that Saudi’s are particularly uninterested in working in the gold and jewellery sector and the ministry should reconsider the decision as many jewellery shops are struggling to find eligible Saudi employees.

Several workshops and training courses have been conducted to train young Saudi’s to work in the gold market, but most of them found the job unappealing in comparison to the more attractive and secure jobs in the government sector, he added.

As a result, many businesses would be affected with the ministry’s decision to nationalize gold and jewellery shops in less than two weeks. He said out of 330 gold and jewellery shops in Jeddah, he personally believes Saudization would lead to closure of 30 percent of the shops and others will reduce the number of branches.


By Innovation-sa on November 27, 2017 in News

With the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) from January 1, 2018 the Kingdom will witness a sudden increase in price of goods and services.

Khalid Al-Zaidi, a financial analyst and director of Jeddah based Al-Zaidi Financial Education Center, said the increase in price followed by a drop in demand for goods will affect businesses adversely causing them to adopt new strategies and policies to keep their business running.

If the price hike leads to reduction in quality of commodities and services, then it would be a negative indicator for the country, he added. Moreover, the price hike will force consumers to find alternate ways to save money.

Al-Zaidi anticipated a sink in the demand for luxury commodities and accessories.

With the opening of international markets through e-commerce as well as consumers looking for cheaper alternatives, companies will look forward to provide the best service at competitive prices.

If the implementation of VAT is found to be a boost to the country’s economy and has helped to rationalize the consumption habits of the citizens, then, the government will most probably impose tax on additional sectors or increase the percentage of VAT to more than 5 percent in future, added Al-Zaidi.

The implementation of VAT on petroleum products will reduce the domestic consumption of oil products thereby increasing the quality of the country’s oil reserve. With increased oil export to the global market, Saudi Arabia can attain a leading global position and improve its oil pricing policy within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Al-Zaidi said that small and medium sized companies and organizations would find it extremely difficult to survive with the implementation of VAT. Moreover, the imposition of VAT on private education is highly challenging as students have already begun migration to government run schools.

Since the commencement of VAT registration on August 28, 2017, more than 60,000 businesses have completed its registration procedures. The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) encouraged businesses earning more than SR 1 million to speed up their VAT registration process.


By Innovation-sa on November 27, 2017 in News

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Cooperative Health Insurance warned hospitals and health facilities against demanding a cash payment from insured patients.

The Council received several complaints against hospitals that refused to accept insurance claims and forced patients to pay in cash.

Yasser bin Ali Almuaarek, spokesman for the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance, reminded that this is a violation of the council’s policies and hospitals and health facilities violating these policies will be subjected to severe punishments including suspension.

He urged health facilities to conform to demands of the accreditation of service providers as well as to provide timely services and avoid delays in sending approvals to insurance companies, as per article 90 of the executive legislations.

The Council came with an explanation after repeated complaints and an investigation published in Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.


By Innovation-sa on November 22, 2017 in News

The Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced that entering ID number or Iqama number along with prepaid card number is not required for recharging pre-paid mobile phones from November 15 onwards.

Earlier in 2012, CITC made it necessary to enter iqama number while charging, recharging and transferring balance via prepaid cards. Its aim was to deactivate all illegally obtained prepaid sim cards.

Meanwhile, with the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) from January 1, 2017, telecom services such as mobile phone, fixed line, data and digital services will be subject to 5 percent VAT. This will lead to reduced talk-time for prepaid customers, for instance, a prepaid voucher of SR 100 will only offer a talk-time of SR 95. On the other hand, post-paid users are likely to obtain bills with VAT added to it.


By Innovation-sa on November 22, 2017 in News

Saudi Arabia will no longer allow immediate test for driving license applicants without attending training sessions, announced Brig. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Bassami, director general of Traffic Department.

Anyone wishing to obtain a new driving license should attend a 30-hour, 90-hour or 120-hour training course depending on their level of proficiency. Applicants with a good driving experience can attend the test after attending a 30-hour training session while the less experienced applicants should opt for a longer duration training session, said Al-Bassami in a press statement to Saudi Press Agency.