Saudi Shoura wants Customs Department run as independent authority

A Shoura Council committee has called for the transfer of the Saudi Customs Department to an independent public authority.
Updated 23 January 2018
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Saudi Shoura wants Customs Department run as independent authority

RIYADH: A Shoura Council committee has called for the transfer of the Saudi Customs Department to an independent public authority, financially and administratively.
This came within a series of recommendations proposed by the Financial Committee in its report based on the annual report of the Customs Department at the Shoura Council’s 12th ordinary session on Monday.
Commenting on the report, one member urged all concerned parties to concert efforts to develop customs ports for the realization of Saudi Vision 2030. Another member asked for supporting the Customs Department with qualified cadres and providing them with training and incentives in recognition of their efforts in protecting the Kingdom from the entry of fake or banned commodities.
In another issue, the Council passed a draft law on flour mill production after the members listened to a report presented by the Committee of Water, Agriculture and Environment on the draft project. The 29-point project aims to organize and monitor flour mills after their privatization.
In another decision, the Council asked the Public Authority of Irrigation to use the geographical information system (GIS) to develop operation and monitoring programs of farms, their components and irrigation networks.
In a related issue, the Council called on the General Authority of Survey to streamline and unify the activity of the survey sector in the Kingdom and coordinate with the concerned parties to unify use of global standards of geo-spatial information.
Later, the Council deliberated on a report presented by the Committee of Economy and Energy based on the annual report of the General Authority of Competition (GAC).
Among its recommendations, the Committee asked the GAC to subject procedures of exclusive transmission of football matches to fair completion systems and build partnerships with civil society organizations concerned with consumer protection and commerce chambers. It also asked the GAC to employ qualified legal cadres to properly deal with complaints on competition irregularities.
At the outset of the session, the Council approved an amended code of conduct for suppression of acts of piracy, armed robbery targeting ships and illegal sea activity in the western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden region.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 22 min ago
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.