SR 2,400 levy ‘irreversible’

Updated 03 March 2013
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SR 2,400 levy ‘irreversible’

The SR 2,400 levy imposed on private companies for employing expatriate workers in excess of Saudis is irreversible, as the government has no plan to withdraw the Saudization measure.
“The expat levy file has been closed forever and businesses have to embrace even tougher decisions in the future,” said Saleh Kamel, a prominent Saudi businessman and chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to one estimate, the levy would impose an additional financial burden of SR 60 billion annually on Saudis. “The levy would increase the expenditure of businesses by SR 20 billion annually. To meet this expenditure, traders will increase prices of goods and services by three times and the cost will reach SR 60 billion,” one expert said.
Kamel said the JCCI had opposed the levy imposed by the Labor Ministry following legal measures as it believed the levy would increase prices of commodities and services.
“We had appointed Jeddah Law Center to prepare a study on the legal violations involving the levy decision in order to present it to higher authorities but the JCCI has been told not to present the study,” Al-Sharq Arabic daily quoted Kamel as saying.
“This has closed the door of discussions on the issue,” Kamel said, adding that businessmen were unanimous in their opinion to withdraw the levy as it harms small investors and small and medium enterprises that account for 90 percent businesses in the Kingdom.
He highlighted JCCI’s efforts to challenge the ministry’s decision.


Trump names new US ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Updated 18 min 16 sec ago
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Trump names new US ambassador to Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped John Abizaid, a top US general from the Iraq war who has studied the Middle East for years, as ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Abizaid is a fluent Arabic speaker of Lebanese descent who headed US Central Command — which covers the Middle East — during the Iraq war from shortly after the US invasion in 2003 through 2007.
A California native, Abizaid graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and later won a scholarship to study in Jordan, where he honed his Arabic, which he did not speak as a child.
Abizaid requires confirmation from the Senate, which would appear likely as the retired four-star general has long enjoyed respect in Washington.