Saudi Arabia implements initiatives to improve business environment

Commerce and Investment Minister Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi. (SPA)
Updated 11 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia implements initiatives to improve business environment

  • Tayseer working with more than 40 government agencies as well as the private sector
  • Tayseer currently working on more than 300 initiatives that aim to improve the business environment

JEDDAH: In 2018, Saudi Arabia implemented a number of initiatives and reforms that aim to improve its business environment and enhance its competitiveness.
In this regard, the Executive Committee for Improving the Performance of Private Sector Businesses (Tayseer), headed by Commerce and Investment Minister Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, monitored and implemented initiatives and reforms to provide a stable and motivating environment for the private sector.
Tayseer works with more than 40 government agencies as well as the private sector, represented by the Council of Saudi Chambers, under one umbrella to empower and develop the private sector.
Tayseer follows the most important international reports in order to improve the Kingdom’s regional and global rankings. They include the Doing Business report issued by the World Bank Group, and the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum.
Tayseer is working on more than 300 initiatives that aim to improve the business environment. Following the launch of the Meras platform, starting a business now requires only one step and one day. It used to require 17 days and 10 steps.
Also, business and commercial visas are issued within 24 hours of a mission receiving the request, and commercial delegations’ visas are issued within two days. Previously, the issuance of commercial visas took several weeks.
Business visas do not require an invitation letter, and are issued within 24 hours of a mission receiving the request. Commercial visas through visa service offices are issued within 24 hours. For commercial delegations, the duration for visa issuance has been reduced from 30 days to just two.
The time required to begin receiving electricity services has been reduced to nine days through a two-step process, and compensation mechanisms have been developed to address cases of service interruptions or delays.
Regarding trade, the single-window platform Fasah has been launched to facilitate customs clearance and import and export procedures.
The Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration was established to settle disputes according to the best international practices.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 36 min 15 sec ago
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.