Saudi Royal decree will help families save money currently spent on private drivers

A street in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Shutterstock)
Updated 27 September 2017
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Saudi Royal decree will help families save money currently spent on private drivers

DUBAI: The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has welcomed King Salman’s announcement allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia, calling it a positive step.
In a tweet Guterres wrote: “I welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift the ban on women drivers. An important step in the right direction.”
The ruling will see a consultation over the next 30 days on how to implement the new rules granting women the right to apply for driving licenses and it will be brought into force in June 2018.

By allowing women to drive frees them to go to work without incurring excessive additional costs caused by the need to hire drivers, and thus bring home additional income into the household, which will ultimately increase people’s spending power and help boost Saudi Arabia’s national economy.
Saudi writer and journalist, Ghada Ghunaim said: “This will have a huge impact on Saudi Arabia’s economy. We have to remember that our Kingdom produces more female graduates compared to our male counterparts,”
Most Saudi families are reliant, to varying degrees, on private drivers to transport the female members to school, work and any other place they need to go to.
The most recent statistics suggest there are nearly 800,000 men – mostly South Asian – working as drivers for Saudi women.
Drivers are paid approximately 1,000 – 1,500 riyals ($267 — $400) per month. But there are additional costs incurred, such as residence permits, accommodation, health care and food, and flight tickets, which cost Saudi families a national total of approximately 19.14 billion riyals ($5.1 billion).
Ghunaim said Tuesday’s royal decree would ultimately help low income families who currently struggle to meet the financial burden of hiring drivers.
“A lot of families in Saudi Arabia are not able to afford paying a driver a monthly salary, this royal decree will help ease a lot of families who struggle with their women not being able to drive,” she added.


Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

Updated 44 min ago
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Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

RIYADH: The Halat Ammar Customs on the Kingdom’s northwestern border prevented two attempts to smuggle a quantity of 184,737 Fenethylline tablets, also known by the brand name of Captagon.
The pills were discovered hidden on two buses that were transporting passengers to the Kingdom’s holy sites.
Mohammed Qaisi, the customs general manager, said the first bus was carrying 47 passengers and after the customs procedures were finalized and the passengers were processed, a bag containing 100,000 tablets was found.
“The narcotics were hidden in an artistic way and were placed inside the bag’s lining,” he said.
Qaisi also said the second attempt was thwarted in a similar way. The other bus was transporting 31 passengers, on which a total of 84,737 Captagon pills were seized.
Saudi Arabia usually witnesses a rise of smuggling attempts during the Umrah and Hajj seasons, as they are exploited by smugglers trying to transport narcotics and other contraband. 
Saudi Customs said it is exerting great efforts and working with all its human and technical capabilities to prevent the entry of illegal substances.