New Saudi Payments Company expected to enhance e-transactions 

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. (Shutterstock)
Updated 10 November 2019

New Saudi Payments Company expected to enhance e-transactions 

  • Talat Zaki Hafiz said the approval came in line with SAMA’s strategy to transform the Kingdom into a cashless society

JEDDAH: The Cabinet on Nov. 5 approved the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) request to establish the Saudi Payments Company, concerned about national payment systems. The company will be responsible for operations and the development of infrastructure of national payment systems.
Talat Zaki Hafiz, the secretary-general of the media and banking awareness committee of Saudi Banks, said the approval came in line with SAMA’s strategy to transform the Kingdom into a cashless society.
He explained that one of the main objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) was to raise the level of electronic financial transactions from the base year 2016 from 18 percent to 28 percent by 2020.

BACKGROUND

• The first attempt to encourage e-transaction was in 1990, when SAMA established the Saudi Payment Network (SPAN). This was followed in 1997 by announcing the Saudi Arabian Riyal Interbank Express Electronic System (SARIE). 

• In 2004 the SADAD payment system was launched, while MADA, the advanced version of SPAN, was introduced in 2015 and invoicing system Esal was established in 2018. 

• In 2019 the General Department of Payment Systems and SADAD merged to become the Saudi Payments Company.

This company, he added, will be the backbone of the different infrastructure electronic payment systems, ensuring that all payments and financial transactions processed will be safe and secure.
Hafiz also said that establishing such a company would enable the national payment system to provide safe and reliable basic services to achieve compatibility by providing common infrastructure to ensure competitiveness among payment service providers in line with the objectives of the FSDP, one of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs.


Riyadh governor opens high-profile Saudi economic forum

Updated 22 January 2020

Riyadh governor opens high-profile Saudi economic forum

RIYADH: A high-profile conference to tackle some of the main challenges facing the Saudi economy was on Tuesday opened by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar.

Speaking at the opening session of the influential three-day Riyadh Economic Forum (REF), the prince praised the Saudi business community for its cooperation with the government in helping to strengthen the country’s economic fortunes.

The ninth edition of the forum, being held under the title “Human-Centered Economy,” will discuss some of the key future economic issues confronting the Kingdom.

Thanking King Salman for his patronage of the event, vice chairman of Riyadh Chamber and chairman of the forum’s board of trustees, Hamad Al-Shuwaier, said important recommendations linked to the Vision 2030 plan would be announced during the gathering.

These would be related to the areas of public finance reform, the nonprofit sector, future jobs, the environment, and reverse migration.

“What distinguishes the forum, which serves as a research center for national issues, is its focus on the principle of dialogue and participation between all concerned, specialized and responsible parties within the economic and social community, by intensifying meetings and promoting participation in all study discussions, with the aim of touching barriers in a close and intensive manner.

“Accurately diagnosing the facts gives accurate results when identifying solutions,” he added.

Special sessions of the forum will aim to generate practical suggestions and solutions to help with economic decision-making and to establish the principle of dialogue and participation among sectors of the business community.

In July 2019, the REF held a panel discussion at the chamber’s Riyadh headquarters on a study detailing the role of balanced economic development in reverse migration and sustainable and comprehensive development in the Kingdom.

Its focus was to identify the obstacles preventing the movement of young workers between towns and big cities, as well as highlighting ways to improve the quality of life in small urban centers through an analytical survey of industrial and service resources in different regions.

Al-Shuwaier noted that the forum was special in bringing together a broad range of intellectual and practical minds from government and private sector organizations covering many fields.

He added that the chamber was working on the final touches to transforming the forum into an independent economic think tank that served national economic issues.

Ajlan Al-Ajlan, chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), which organized the event, said the forum’s main objectives included using scientific studies and methodology to identify issues affecting the national economy, analyzing constraints on economic growth and working to combat them by learning from the experiences of other countries.

He pointed out that the forum coincided with the Kingdom’s presidency of the 2020 G20 summit of global leaders, being held in Riyadh in November, and that the eyes of the world would be on Saudi Arabia.

The forum is one of the participants in T20, an official G20 engagement group, with four topics related to important sectors discussed by the group.

The opening ceremony of the REF was followed by a session on future jobs, administered by Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh. Delegates discussed employment requirements linked to the fourth industrial revolution and how to tackle the prospect of 40 percent of jobs becoming obsolete due to mechanization in the farming and industrial sectors.

The session highlighted that education should go hand in hand to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

Forum data showed its previous eight sessions attracted 33,938 attendees, an average of 4,243 participants per session.