Haj goes high-tech for bloodless Eid sacrifices

The more than 1.8 million pilgrims from around the world had the option of computerized coupons to order a sacrifice. (SPA)
Updated 14 September 2016
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Haj goes high-tech for bloodless Eid sacrifices

MINA: Thanks to computer technology and SMS messaging, pilgrims were able to make their Eid Al-Adha sacrifice without getting blood on their hands.
The more than 1.8 million pilgrims from around the world had the option of computerized coupons to order a sacrifice — without even seeing the animal.
Many among the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims themselves pick up a knife and kill sheep or other animals to mark Eid Al-Adha.
“If each pilgrim himself sacrificed a sheep, there wouldn’t be enough space,” said Rabie Saleh, a Sudanese in line at a Saudi Post office at the Jamrat Bridge.
In the past, pilgrims themselves sacrificed animals before handing meat to the poor.
“But now there are millions of pilgrims. If each sacrificed a sheep, that would take days and days,” said 33-year-old Saudi pilgrim Mishal Al-Qahtani.
So the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) devised the electronic coupon system.
For SR460 this year, agencies located around holy sites visited by the pilgrims take charge of the sacrifice.
“As soon as someone buys from us, a request is sent to the bank through our system and a sheep is slaughtered in an abattoir,” explained Mansour Al-Malki, 45, a Saudi Post employee.
The meat is then cut up and handed out to the less fortunate in and around Makkah or sent overseas, said Al-Malki. “Before, there were paper coupons but now it is computerized.”
Al-Qahtani received a receipt showing he had paid for the sacrifice.
“They told me that I will soon get an SMS to tell me that a sheep has really been slaughtered,” Al-Qahtani said.


High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019
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High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.