Denmark set to lose millions following halal slaughter ban

Updated 23 February 2014

Denmark set to lose millions following halal slaughter ban

Denmark is likely to lose millions of dollars in trade and tourism revenues following its ban Monday on slaughtering animals in accordance with Islamic standards.
Halal (Islamically slaughtered) beef and poultry products are imported in large quantities by Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf countries. In fact, around 55 percent of Danish exports to the Kingdom are food-based.
The controversial decision is poised to have a drastic effect on the Danish market since the country is likely to come under a comprehensive boycott as it has on more than one occasion in the past.
The Danish government has already come under fire by religious rights groups in Denmark. Danish Halal, a nonprofit group, has described the ban as a “clear infringement of religious freedom.” The ban has also been branded “anti-Semitic” by Jewish leaders.
Dan Jorgensen, Danish food minister, responded to the criticism on Denmark’s TV2, saying “Animal rights come before religion.”
The decision effectively ends the sale of halal products, much to the anger of residents across the Kingdom.
Sources at the the media department of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) have said that the ban should be lifted with immediate effect, saying that it would strain bilateral trade between the two countries, estimated at SR6 billion.
Fahd Mohammed Al-Hammady, chairman of the National Committee for Contractors at the CSC, told Arab News that he staunchly opposes the ban on halal stuff.
“This is sheer hypocrisy on their part. They slaughter giraffes in public to feed lions, yet they ban the slaughter of meat in accordance with religious standards, which is a clear infringement of religious freedom,” said Taha bin Saeed, a Saudi citizen.
A tour operator at the Fursan Group said that Denmark could have received a large number of tourists thanks to the Schengen visa, which enables non-EU nationals to travel freely to 25 European countries. The ban, however, will definitely make Saudi and Arab tourists reluctant to visit the country and will have a negative effect on tourism, said one agent.
The Danish Embassy in Riyadh could not be reached for comment during the weekend.


SAMA to become Saudi Central Bank, with full independence

Updated 56 min 55 sec ago

SAMA to become Saudi Central Bank, with full independence

  • New central bank to be linked directly to king but its president independent of government
  • Bank’s core responsibilities to maintain monetary reserves, boost confidence, trust in financial sector

RIYADH: The Council of Ministers on Tuesday approved a new law which includes changing the name of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to the Saudi Central Bank.

Under the legislation, the new Saudi Central Bank will be linked directly to the monarch and will enjoy full financial and managerial independence.

The Saudi Central Bank Law set out three core objectives for the new institution namely, to maintain cash stability, boost confidence and trust in the financial sector, and support economic growth.

The new legislation states that the central bank is responsible for setting and managing monetary policy and it outlines the relationship between the bank, the government, and other international important organizations and bodies. It also sets a framework to govern the bank’s operations and decisions.

Fadhel Al-Buainain, an economic expert and member of the Shoura Council, said one of the important aspects of the Saudi Central Bank Law was that it was linked directly to the king.

“This enhances its full independence with respect to setting the monetary policy and the bank’s relationship with the government and global organizations,” he added.

The law states that the abbreviation SAMA, which was established in 1952, would remain unchanged due to its historical importance domestically and internationally.

“The fact that the bank will keep the SAMA abbreviation unchanged is important and reflects a wise decision because the abbreviation is widely-known,” Al-Buainain said.

While the SAMA acronym will remain, Hassan Alwatban, an economic consultant, outlined the differences between the monetary authority and the central bank.

For the central bank to perform its duties properly, he said it needed to be fully independent when it came to decision-making, especially decisions related to managing state funds.

Another difference was that the president of the central bank would not be under the state’s authority and their nomination would be made by a legislative authority. The government or state could not appoint or remove the president except by the most supreme judiciary authority.

Thirdly, he added, a government agency could not interfere in the bank’s affairs because the bank enjoyed full monetary power.

Alwatban told Arab News: “Therefore, changing the monetary authority to a central bank is healthy for the national economy.

“The tasks of the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for financial policies, will be set apart from the tasks of the central bank, which is responsible for setting the monetary policies. Before the change, the tasks of the Ministry of Finance and SAMA overlapped.

“Besides, the Ministry of Finance was in charge of the financial policy and the monetary policy at the same time, a fact that made SAMA focus on serving the banks’ interests more than focusing on serving the interests of citizens,” he added.