Rumors quashed about exit/re-entry fee hike

Updated 30 January 2013
0

Rumors quashed about exit/re-entry fee hike

The Passport Department has categorically denied any increase in the exit/re-entry fees.
“There is no change in the existing fee structure,” said Imad Al-Abdulqader, the official spokesman for the department in the Eastern Province. “We have not issued any circular in this regard.”
Talking to Arab News yesterday, he said: “As was the case before, a single exit/re-entry visa costs SR 200 and a multiple one SR 500. Nothing more, nothing less.”
On reports about the possibility of any increase in the future, Al-Abdulqader said: “We cannot speak what is going to happen in the future, but as of now, there is absolutely no change, we have not doubled the visa fee.”
Al-Abdulqader’s statement scotches all rumors that have been circulating among expatriates for quite sometime now.
“It is excellent news for all of us,” said a relieved Jamal H. Siddique, a longtime expatriate from South Africa. “For those who have large families like mine, those rumors about the doubling of exit/re-entry fees were quite unnerving,” he told Arab News.
He thanked the Passport Department for coming out with a categorical statement on the issue. “It was a hot topic of discussion among all expatriates,” he said. “We were continuously badgering our ‘mandoob’ to clear the air, but he would just say ‘maafi mushkila.’”
Abdul Rahman Mutaher, a Pakistani expatriate in Alkhobar, said he knew there was no truth to the rumors because he had gotten an exit/re-entry visa for his wife and children only last week. “I told my friends about the first-hand experience, but the rumors continued to circulate feverishly,” he said.
The rumors first started making the rounds when the announcement about the SR 2,400 levy on every expatriate working in non-Saudized private companies was first announced.
Rania Mustafa, a Lebanese teacher in Riyadh, expressed delight at the Passport Department clarification. “We were sick of these rumors and what had compounded our problem was that there was no official statement denying those rumors,” she said.
“If the rumors were true, then we had decided not to go on vacation this year,” said a Jeddah-based Indian teacher Suhail Ziad. “Doubling the visa fee would have meant that I would have had to dish out SR 2,400 for six members of my family, and with air fares looking skywards I just would not have had enough money to plan our vacation,” he said.
“Thanking you for breaking this good news,” said Suleman Yusuf, a Sri Lankan expatriate working in a Jeddah hotel. “It is a big relief.”


Saudi Arabia witnesses unprecedented achievements one year after MBS became crown prince

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has become the government’s face of reform, modernization and change. (SPA)
Updated 22 June 2018
0

Saudi Arabia witnesses unprecedented achievements one year after MBS became crown prince

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the architect of a wide-ranging plan for social and economic reforms known as Saudi Vision 2030
  • Vision 2030 seeks to make Saudi Arabia non-oil based economy and the large developments at the Red Sea, Qiddiya and, NEOM, are part of the efforts to lure in investors and promote tourism sector.

JEDDAH: June 21 marked one year of Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince of Saudi Arabia.Since assuming the role, the crown prince, fondly known as MBS, has been working for the socioeconomic transformation of the Kingdom.
He is the architect of a wide-ranging plan for social and economic reforms known as Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy of the Kingdom and reduce its dependence on oil income.
Among the reforms envisaged in the Vision 2030 plan are the reopening of cinemas and allowing both sexes to attend concerts.
Another major development is the lifting of a ban on women driving. From June 24, women in Saudi Arabia will be able to take the wheel. The crown prince’s Vision 2030 reform plan seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from the current 22 percent.
In a statement issued to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that as the architect of Saudi Vision 2030, the crown prince was inspiring the country’s youth and introducing structural changes to the Saudi economy and society.
Al-Othaimeen said that in one year he had taken many important initiatives at the national and international level and reinforced Saudi Arabia’s leading role in defending and supporting issues related to the wider Muslim world.
In this area, the OIC chief said, the most notable achievement was the creation of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition.
Vision 2030 seeks to boost the Saudi non-oil based economy, and the large developments at the Red Sea, Qiddiya and NEOM, the futuristic mega city, are part of efforts to attract investors and promote the Kingdom’s tourism sector.
Saudi Minister of Telecommunications and IT Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha said that the Kingdom is geared up to achieve the goals of socioeconomic transformation as envisaged in Vision 2030. He said that during the last year Saudi Arabia had achieved great success in this ambition.
Civil Services Minister Sulaiman bin Abdullah Al-Hamdan said that last year was characterized by many achievements. The Kingdom, he said, witnessed the continuation of the successful implementation of the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which covers all aspects of life.
Saudi Education Minister Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Issa said: “Our country is looking forward to a bright future in line with an ambitious vision. It is standing at the threshold of great transformation.”
Saudi Arabia has also witnessed several unprecedented developments since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began implementing his reform plans. In a bid to ensure transparency in the financial system to promote international investments, the Kingdom launched a drive to root out corruption from society without discrimination.
Saudi Justice Minister Dr. Waleed bin Mohammed Al-Samaani, who is also president of the Supreme Judicial Council, said that the crown prince is a leader whose impact has surpassed local and regional levels. He has emerged as one of the most influential figures at the global level, he said.
Islamic Affairs Minister Dr. Abdulatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ashiekh said: “The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is a comprehensive national development program that seeks to achieve prosperity for the country. The crown prince has worked very hard to achieve many goals in record time.
“The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has received a great deal of support and attention from the crown prince to help fight extremist and deviant ideologies.”
The minister said that these efforts come within the framework of Vision 2030 to eradicate all sources of corruption.
MBS’s history of philanthropic initiatives has earned him many awards. In 2011, he established the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), which enables young Saudis to learn, develop and progress in the fields of business, literature, culture, science and technology, and sociology.
“The crown prince’s initiatives in relief and humanitarian work have been admired and praised by the UN and its related organizations,” said Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) and an adviser to the royal court.
Al-Rabeeah said that the crown prince had allocated $66.7 million to fight the cholera epidemic in Yemen, in addition to his efforts to help the needy throughout the world without discrimination.
He said that the crown prince had worked hard to build a new phase of progress and prosperity for the country with the help of the youth who are the core of the Kingdom’s future.
In recent years, the crown prince has become the government’s face of reform, modernization and change. In a country where about 60 percent of the population is under 30, the young crown prince is widely seen as an icon in the push toward socioeconomic reforms.
The crown prince also heads the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, which aims to establish a seamless mechanism to achieve Vision 2030 goals.