Remittances up 17% to SR133bn

Updated 30 December 2013
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Remittances up 17% to SR133bn

Expatriate remittances from the Kingdom rose by 17 percent to SR133.3 billion in the first 11 months of 2013 compared to SR113.9 billion for the same period last year.
Likewise, Saudi remittances to foreign countries rose by 10 percent to SR69.6 billion in November 2013 compared to SR63.3 billion in November 2012, Al-Eqtisadiah reported.
Personal remittances by Saudis and foreigners were up by 14 percent to reach SR202.9 billion in the last 11 months. Personal money transfers of non-Saudis comprised 75 percent of the overall personal remittances.
According to the report, personal remittances, which fall within local banks’ sales of hard currencies, are meant to cover some 15 items such as imports, personal transfers, travel expenses abroad, investments in foreign countries and sales to government agencies.
An economic expert earlier predicted that remittances of foreign workers in the Kingdom to their home countries would climb to nearly SR109 billion during the current year.
Fahd Bin-Jumaa said remittances of expatriates exceeded SR700 billion during the last 10 years.
Other bankers and economists, however, said outbound remittances of expatriates are poised to fall by more than 20 percent in the wake of the crackdown on illegal workers being jointly carried out by the Ministries of Labor and Interior.
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, a regional analyst, told Arab News: “Money that is not spent in Saudi Arabia means less economic activity. And money that is not saved locally probably overall limits the resources available for local investment.”
John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Masic in Saudi Arabia, said: “High remittances for 2013 is not a surprise given that many workers that have left the country or others who have been concerned about tight labor measures would probably have sent more abroad and saved less within the wider economy over the last few months of 2013.”


Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018
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Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.