End of the road for coverup businesses

End of the road for coverup businesses
Updated 13 May 2014

End of the road for coverup businesses

End of the road for coverup businesses

The Council of Ministers decided Monday to launch an intensive campaign against cover-up businesses run by expats in the name of Saudis across the Kingdom after the Interior Ministry discovered that foreigners were dominating certain business sectors.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will be provided with human and material resources in order to lead an effective campaign, said the Cabinet, which was chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.
The Cabinet instructed agencies that are responsible for issuing licenses to intensify inspections in markets and report illegal business practices to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The Ministry of Social Affairs has been told to study the possibility of setting up cooperative consumer societies.
“The Ministries of Interior and Labor shall continue to nationalize business activities and professions that yield good revenues and protect citizens’ interests,” said Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja.
The total value of “tasattur” (Arabic for cover-up businesses) transactions is estimated at more than SR230 billion.
Expatriates dominate about 95 percent of the retail and wholesale market, while the Labor Ministry intends to target the retail industry to create 600,000 jobs for citizens.
Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, president of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), welcomed the Cabinet decision to crack down on cover-up businesses. “This decision comes after the government’s tolerance of illegal expat business activity wore out,” he told Arab News.
He said certain foreign nationalities were dominating some sectors, thus preventing Saudis from entering into businesses.
“This is a serious issue and expats will no longer be allowed to open cover-up businesses. Expats involved in such businesses will lose their money, while Saudis who cover for them will end up in jail,” he said.
Al-Zamil said the Cabinet move would create more job opportunities for Saudis and boost businesses run by Saudis.
“I hope foreign embassies will advise their nationals not to engage in such illegal activity so that no one is taken by surprise when violators are punished.” Al-Zamil, who is also chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), welcomed the move to establish cooperative consumer societies, saying it would help reduce prices of essential commodities.
However, he pointed out that these societies would still not be able to compete with big supermarkets.
The Cabinet emphasized the importance of the National Initiative for Traffic Safety and urged Saudis and expats to comply with the initiative in order to reduce traffic accidents that cause daily fatalities and tragic injury.
The Cabinet praised security agencies for uncovering a terrorist cell in the Kingdom and praised Saudis for informing authorities about such destructive elements.
It also denounced Israel’s continuing attacks and excavation works in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “The Kingdom holds Israel responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Jerusalem and any negative consequences resulting from the attacks carried out by the occupation forces and settlers,” the Cabinet added. He said the Cabinet approved an agreement for cooperation and strategic dialogue between the GCC and Japan. It also extended the accord signed with France on the avoidance of double taxation for five years from Jan. 1.
The Cabinet instructed the Real Estate Share Committee to accelerate the liquidation of the stalled real estate share businesses in accordance with its working mechanism and royal decrees. It advised the Justice Ministry to assign adequate number of judges for the purpose. It endorsed an agreement for cooperation with Morocco in the field of civil service.
It appointed Essam bin Ibrahim Bait Almal ambassador at the Foreign Ministry; Nasser bin Ibrahim Alfouzan administrative adviser at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; Talaat bin Ibrahim Almoslmani minister plenipotentiary; and Abdul Rahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Abdullatif director general of administrative and financial affairs at the Foreign Ministry.