No VAT on loans, ATM services, says Saudi tax authority

Updated 07 December 2017
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No VAT on loans, ATM services, says Saudi tax authority

JEDDAH: The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) on Wednesday confirmed that interest or lending fees charged with an implicit margin for finance will be exempt from value-added tax.
The authority clarified that interest or lending fees charged on loans, credit cards, mortgages, finance leasing, hire purchase products and transformations are all exempted from the VAT.
Officials of GAZT shared this information during a workshop held at its offices in Jeddah. A number of media professionals and officials of the authority attended the event.
Quashing rumors about ATM withdrawals, the GAZT officials told the workshop that customers will not be charged for withdrawing or transferring money from their accounts using ATMs. 
However, the 5-percent tax will be imposed on banks’ administrative charges such as the issuance of checkbooks, statements of accounts and safety deposit boxes and the customer will have to bear this expense.
Moreover, rental prices of residential properties, life insurance contract and issue or transfer of a debt security, equity security, or any other transferable document recognizing an obligation to pay a monetary amount to the bearer are also exempt from the VAT. 
According to VAT Project Manager Hmood Al-Harbi, zero-rated taxable supplies include medical products and equipment, exports outside GCC region, international transport, the supply of gold, silver and platinum investments, and services provided to non-residents like tourists and pilgrims.
“The value-added taxes that tourists or pilgrims pay will be refunded, laws for that are there in the executive regulations of the VAT, and they will be soon applied. We hope that the necessary regulatory structure will soon be ready, but we cannot give specific timing yet,” said Al-Harbi. 
Moreover, government services like issuance of passports and driving licenses are also exempted from the VAT. 


Jeddah has never been greener, but authorities say their work has just begun

These green spaces have become a recreational resource for residents in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Jeddah has never been greener, but authorities say their work has just begun

  • Jeddah mayor: The secretariat has signed partnership agreements with the private sector and institutions for initiatives to develop parks, buildings and pedestrian walkways
  • The city has organized a number of cultural and recreational events for visitors to the parks

RIYADH: Five hundred parks in Jeddah have contributed to softening the public face presented to the world and its visitors by the Bride of the Red Sea. 

These green breathing spaces have become a resource for Jeddah locals and visitors alike. They are vital pieces in the patchwork of green spaces that are estimated to cover 20 million square meters.

Jeddah municipality has a commitment to increasing green spaces in Jeddah through garden and reforestation projects throughout the province.

The mayor of Jeddah province, Saleh Ali Al-Turki, said that the Secretariat is in the process of improving and developing the parks and increasing green spaces. 

He added that the secretariat has signed partnership agreements with the private sector and institutions for initiatives to develop parks, buildings and pedestrian walkways.

Al-Turki stressed that public parks are important elements to improve the environment and the quality of life. As such it is important to foster partnerships between the public and private sectors to develop this environmental element.

These efforts are supported by the work of Friends of Jeddah Parks, within the framework of social responsibility and with a strong partnership with governmental bodies and donors to create and care for public gardens and open spaces and benefit from them while promoting recreational, cultural, sporting, health and intellectual activities and contributing to bond with members of society.

Park expansion

The province of Jeddah has managed to expand the establishment of such parks throughout the province’s neighborhoods, taking into account the geographical scope and urban sprawl, amid strengthening the role of the private sector and civil society institutions in supporting, caring for and establishing public parks in the context of social responsibility. 

It has also succeeded in organizing a number of cultural and recreational events for the parks’ visitors, and maintaining them as a social forum for a number of families and children.

There is ongoing work to establish short- and medium-term plans to improve the parks, in addition to expanding green spaces throughout the province through implementing additional projects so that these resources are able to cater for a large number of visitors and citizens. The parks need to be maintained as social, recreational, sporting and environmental outlets.

In addition to the parks, there are recreational clubs and centers, which provide children, young people and families with playgrounds, green spaces, playgrounds, and paved areas.

Dhaban Marine Park, which is located 40km north of Jeddah, is part of the government’s initiative to provide appropriate environmental and recreational places for Jeddah’s citizens and visitors. It covers an area of 110,000 square meters along the waterfront. It is equipped with recreational facilities and football fields for children, in addition to a mosque, pathways, a versatile football field, children’s games, sandy beaches and a fishing area that includes tools and sporting equipment on the pedestrian’s walkway.

Best in Jeddah

The park’s landscaping and green areas cover 38,000 square meters with 312 palm trees, 5,000 trees and bushes, children’s play areas for 25 different sports. 

As one of the best parks in Jeddah, this is a beautiful recreational area where all family members can spend a special day and young people can benefit in a space dedicated for them. It also offers a sandy beach equipped for fishing.

Jeddah’s landmark Al-Saif Beach covers an area of 500 square kilometers and stretches over three kilometers. It was created as part of the initiative to develop the southern corniche to serve a large segment of citizens. It is equipped with public utilities to attract tourists and become an outlet for families and visitors of Jeddah.

Al-Saif Beach is a maritime façade that attracts all segments of society with its infrastructure, recreational areas and green spaces, family areas and children’s play areas. Not only does it offer public facilities such as automated smart toilets, parking lots and specialized prayer areas it also has a sandy beach for beach ball games.