Saudi housing sector in transitional phase

Updated 05 March 2016

Saudi housing sector in transitional phase

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s housing sector is currently in a transitional phase due to changes in the mortgage law and taxes, industry experts said at Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) 2016 on Thursday.
Speakers at a panel discussion on housing at the forum said they are anticipating the market dynamics “to conclude shifting and become more clear during the first week of Ramadan, once the white land tax has been implemented”.
Basil Al-Ghalayini, chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, moderated the discussion, which featured Nidal Jamjoom, CEO of Kinan; Zuhair Hamzah, CEO of SEDCO Development; Alper Apaydin, senior adviser to AkarOne; and Ayman Mansi, director of Residential Development, King Abdullah Economic City.
The experts discussed and agreed that the primary goal of public-private partnership (PPP) in the housing sector is aimed at solving the supply shortage.
The developers noted that while they have substantial volumes of ongoing projects, the market includes several other private developers which impact the market dynamics as well.
Best practices from Turkey were discussed, with a case study on Emlak Konut, a real estate developer belonging to the Housing Development Administration of Turkey.
While the entity is state owned, it is a model example of PPP as it functions with minimal government influence.
The session also addressed that the primary challenge to PPP in housing is the fact that this direction is very new for the sector, with little precedent to follow.
On the second and final day of the forum, keynote speakers and participants in several discussion panels focused on the steps needed to implement PPP with foundational industries in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia needs to ensure that its youth are educated to global standards and employed in vital industries.
Arvind Mahajan, head of infrastructure, government and health care services at KPMG India, set the tone for the day.
He said technology has an impact on how we design infrastructure. This creates a real opportunity for countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ‘leapfrog’ ahead of nations with older infrastructure, avoiding the legacy issues which hold many nations back. he said.

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

Updated 21 October 2019

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

  • About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first all-female tourist group has explored the environmental and archaeological wonders of Tabuk in the northwest of the Kingdom.

About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea.

“They were astonished to see such sights in their country, especially the area of Ras Al-Sheikh Humaid,” said Heba Al-Aidai, a tour guide in Tabuk who organized the trip.

“They did not expect to see such a place in Saudi Arabia. They looked speechless while standing close to the turquoise water of the sea. It is a truly breathtaking view.”

Al-Aidai and her colleague Nafla Al-Anazi promoted the trip on social media and attracted a group of homemakers, teachers and staff workers from all over the Kingdom, aged from 22 to over 50.

The tour was educational, too, and the women were told about the history of the places they visited. “They were taken to the Caves of Shuaib (Magha’er Shuaib), the place where Prophet Moses fled after leaving Egypt, and where he got married to one of the daughters of Prophet Shuaib, according to some historians. It was really a positive experience,” Al-Aidai said.

The visitors also explored Tayeb Ism, a small town in northwestern Tabuk, where there is a well-known gap in the towering mountains through which water runs throughout the year.

Al-Aidai said such trips aim to encourage tourism in Tabuk, and introduce Saudi tourists and other visitors to the landmarks of the region.