Saudi VAT enforcement: 55 days to go as businesses urged to follow new rules

Updated 05 November 2017

Saudi VAT enforcement: 55 days to go as businesses urged to follow new rules

JEDDAH: All businesses have been advised to make sure they understand the new rules on value-added tax (VAT) and be ready for their application on Jan. 1, 2018, which is in 55 days.
The General Authority of Zakat & Tax (GAZT) has urged businesses to read the regulations which can be found on the tax’s official website.
According to the rules approved by GAZT’s board, a 5 percent VAT will be imposed on most goods and services at each stage of the supply chain from production and distribution to the final sale.
The regulations also defined the goods and services that will be exempt, zero-rated and out of scope.
Activities subjected to a zero percent VAT include the supply of medicines and medical equipment specified by the Ministry of Health and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, the supply of gold and silver for investment purposes provided they are at least 99 percent pure and tradable in the Global Bullion Market, and the export of goods to outside the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.
Goods and services exempt from VAT, according to the new rules, include financial services such as dealing in money or securities, providing credit or credit guarantee for customers, and life insurance and reinsurance contracts. The renting of residential property is also exempt from VAT.
Services provided by government agencies as public authorities, such as the issuance and renewal of passports and driving licenses, will be out of the tax’s scope.
The VAT official website ( provides tools and information that support businesses and help them prepare for the application of VAT, in addition to visual aids, registration and VAT application information, and the list of goods and services subject to VAT.
The move is in line with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendation for Gulf states to impose revenue-raising measures including excise and value-added taxes to help their adjustment to lower crude oil prices, which have slowed regional growth.
It is estimated that the VAT’s imposition will raise between $7 billion and $21 billion annually — or between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent of regional GDP (gross domestic product).
Speculations surfaced in social media about a delay in the implementation process, but Rashid Al-Fowzan head of CNBC-Arabia TV channel, has made it clear that the VAT implementation will go as planned on Jan. 1, 2018.
Abdulrahman Al-Hussain, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, has warned businesses against implementing the tax before the scheduled date. He threatened them with serious consequences following concerns raised by a section of the public.

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.