Saudi Finance Ministry says no to fees on foreign workers' remittances

Finance Minister Mohammed Mohammed Al-Jadaan. (SPA)
Updated 22 January 2017
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Saudi Finance Ministry says no to fees on foreign workers' remittances

RIYADH: The Saudi finance ministry said on Sunday there would be no fees applied on remittances out of the country, days after the kingdom's advisory Shoura Council said it was looking at a proposal to impose a 6 percent levy on expatriate remittances. 
Saudi Arabia is "committed to the principle of free movement of capital in and out of the kingdom, in line with international standards," the ministry said on its official Twitter account.
Around a third of Saudi Arabia's 30 million inhabitants are foreigners, many of them attracted by the absence of tax and higher pay than they can get at home.
But the country has been facing a budget squeeze from low oil prices and announced reform plans last year, which included a proposal to impose income tax on foreign workers.
Proposals endorsed by the Shoura Council are not always adopted and the kingdom's central bank governor and finance minister said in the autumn that there were no plans to tax remittances or income.
The country has already introduced a range of new fees to help close a budget gap created by low oil prices.
For example, the government has raised the cost of visas and introduced gradually rising monthly fees on expatriate workers and their dependents.  


Saudi Arabia renovates Al-Jouf General Hospital in Yemen

Updated 8 min 2 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia renovates Al-Jouf General Hospital in Yemen

JEDDAH: The Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen on Wednesday inaugurated a project to renovate and equip Al-Jouf General Hospital.
The project has installed seven clinics, emergency and hypnotherapy sections, and provided medical equipment to serve 12 departments. The hospital can now receive 18,000 people per month.
Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, Saudi ambassador to Yemen, said the Kingdom is actively supporting Yemen through development projects, providing more than $13 billion to that end.
Al-Jouf Gov. Amin Ali Al-Okimi praised Saudi Arabia’s support for the hospital, which he said is the only government institution serving the governorate’s people. The hospital treated more than 109,000 people last year, he added.
In the past two months, the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen announced major medical projects in various governorates.
They include the opening of Siyoun Hospital in Hadramout, the renovation of Al-Ghaydah Hospital in Al-Mahrah, and the completion of the King Salman Educational and Medical City in Al-Mahrah.
King Salman has ordered the planning and establishment of centers to treat chronic diseases in all Yemeni governorates.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Saudi Arabia established hospitals in the Yemeni governorates of Hajjah and Saada, which have been receiving $10 million annually since their establishment.
In 2013, Saudi Arabia began constructing the King Abdullah Medical Center in Sanaa, which was suspended due to the coup by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in 2014.