Petrol stations in Saudi Arabia soon to start accepting e-payments

Petrol stations in Saudi Arabia soon to accept e-payments. (AN file photo)
Updated 12 July 2019

Petrol stations in Saudi Arabia soon to start accepting e-payments

  • Banks are ready to provide machines upon requests from operators, and that those who do not fulfil this obligation will be dealth with by inspectors

RIYADH: Petrol stations in the Kingdom will start accepting e-payments via the Saudi Payments Network (MADA) from July 17.

Ziad Al-Yousef, managing director of MADA, said it has provided 4,000 e-payment machines to petrol stations and services stores.

He added that banks are ready to provide machines upon requests from operators, and that those who do not fulfil this obligation will be dealt with by inspectors from the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MoCI).

Abdulaziz Al-Barrak, deputy head of the national committee for petrol stations, said all 12,000 of them in the Kingdom will have to implement the initiative or face a fine.

Economist and financial analyst Talat Zaki Hafiz told Arab News that the initiative is in line with the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP), which is striving for a cashless society and to reach an e-payment target across the Kingdom of 70 percent by 2030.

He said customers will be entitled to file a complaint of non-availability of service via the ministry’s various channels.

“The fuel station sector is required to provide the terminals and electronic payment at its stations and service facilities,” Hafiz added.

Saudi banks have been asked to be ready to receive requests from the petrol sector and respond to them through all the different banking channels such as branches as well as internet banking and telephone banking.

“Objections can also be submitted to banks that have not complied with, either by delaying the process or not providing the necessary maintenance for devices,” he said.

On possible challenges, Hafiz said that the most important challenges that may face the initiative in the coming period is the lack of commitment of the target sector to request and provide devices to their locations during the period following the ministerial decision, as the announcement was made more than three months ago.

He added that the customers will be entitled to file a complaint of non-availability of service after the target date through the different channels of the MoCI.


Return of ‘Captain Majid’ announced at Anime Expo in Riyadh

Updated 15 November 2019

Return of ‘Captain Majid’ announced at Anime Expo in Riyadh

  • Part of Riyadh Season, Anime Expo brings together creative minds for a first-of-its-kind agreement

RIYADH: The Anime Expo in Riyadh —  part of Riyadh Season — already had regional fans excited, being the largest such event to be held so far in the Middle East. But even better news emerged at Thursday’s press conference to launch the event.

Saudi Arabia and Japan have signed an agreement to bring “Captain Tsubasa,” created by Yoichi Takahashi, back to the small screen. The cartoon, known as “Captain Majid” in the Arab world, is an old-school favorite in the Middle East. The anime is expected to air on Dec. 1 on MBC, the CEO of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, Faisal Bafarat, announced.

Riyadh Season is holding the largest Anime Expo in the Middle East, bringing together collaborations between GEA and Captain Tsubasa creator, Yoichi Takahashi, musical collaborations between both Arab and Japanese giants, and more.

Japan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Tsukasa Uemura, told Arab News: “It’s amazing to see good energy among the young people, ladies and gentlemen of Saudi Arabia.” Uemura was struck by how deep the relationship between Japan and Saudi Arabia was, thanks to anime from the 60s and 70s.

“This relation is now coming to fruition, and I hope that the young Saudi generation won’t only observe but also create, from now, starting a new industry in Saudi Arabia — I see a lot of potential here.”

Arab News met three musical acts who will perform together for the first time on Saturday at the event’s closing ceremony: Lebanese singer Sammy Clark, who performed Arabic versions of anime favorites including “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island” (Takarajima), and Japanese voice actors and singers Isao Sasaki and Ichiro Mizuki.

Clark was excited to meet the two men he dubbed his “twin brothers,” — the original voices behind the animations he has worked on. “I’m honored to be here with them,” he said. “I only traveled to Japan once, in 1987. It’s a beautiful country and their people are some of the kindest in the world.”

Clark explained that he and Sasaki were supposed to sing together at Comic Con in Dubai five years ago, “but it didn’t work out.”

“Today, I’m ecstatic to say that I won’t sing with Sasaki alone but also with Ichiro Mizuki, who sings the original opening song for ‘Mazinger.’ We’ll be performing five songs for fans, and one of the surprises we’ve prepared is that I’ll sing something in Japanese and they’ll sing in Arabic,” Clark said.

He added that he never imagined the theme songs would be so successful and resonate with people for so long. “Generations of fathers have played these songs to their kids, and they all enjoy it so much. We’ve managed to touch thousands through an anime song,” he said.

Mizuki told Arab News that his first time in Saudi Arabia has been amazing so far. “Being in the industry for 50 years, I’ve traveled all over the world, but I consider my first performance in Saudi Arabia to be a big deal, especially as an officially orchestrated event. I feel honored to be here,” he said.

Sasaki echoed his words: “Being a first generation anime singer, I’m not getting any younger, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to perform here in Saudi Arabia,” he said.