Importers urged to get on board with Saudi Customs’ data-correction scheme

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Mazen Alzamel, Deputy Governor for Revenue at Saudi Customs (in center) speaking to reporters in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Mazen Alzamel, Deputy Governor for Revenue at Saudi Customs & Turki Abdulmohsen Alotaishan, Media Director, Saudi Customs (both in middle) at media briefing in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Mazen Alzamel, Deputy Governor for Revenue at Saudi Customs (2nd from right)& Turki Abdulmohsen Alotaishan, Media Director, Saudi Customs (first from right) speaking to reporters in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Mazen Alzamel, Deputy Governor for Revenue at Saudi Customs & Turki Abdulmohsen Alotaishan, Media Director, Saudi Customs (both in middle) at media briefing in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Mazen Alzamel, Deputy Governor for Revenue at Saudi Customs & Turki Abdulmohsen Alotaishan, Media Director, Saudi Customs (in center) at media briefing in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Importers urged to get on board with Saudi Customs’ data-correction scheme

  • Alzamel added that importers would be able to apply for customs fees related to inaccurate information on value, origin and type of goods, and input data not declared to Saudi Customs

RIYADH: Importers have been urged to flag mistakes in customs documentation as part of a Saudi initiative to improve compliance and stability of growth for companies.
Saudi Customs said on Tuesday that its self-correction scheme, launched at the beginning of this year, was aimed at encouraging private sector businesses to come forward and highlight data inaccuracies that may have come about during the trade of goods.
Dr. Mazen Alzamel, deputy governor for revenue at Saudi Customs, told Arab News that the authority was also running another initiative called post-clearance audit (PCA) to help streamline its services.
“That (PCA) is going hand in hand and was started about two-and-a-half years ago. The main thing we need to emphasize, is that the PCA might impose penalties that can be at least twice the amount of customs duties and can go up to the total value of the imported goods,” he said.
Under the newly launched self-correction program, any company voluntarily reporting underpayment of customs fees, and therefore VAT, would only have to pay the difference and would not be fined, added Alzamel.
The customs official pointed out that there was a half-year time limit on the initiative. “All companies are encouraged to go through their imports for the last 5 years, and they now have a window of six months to report any mistakes that have been made during the period.”
Cases where the customs authority had mistakenly over-charged could also be rectified.
Alzamel said: “Any mistake can be corrected. It could be related to the value of the goods, a misspecification causing mistakes in the tariff, or unlawful exemptions.”
On companies which failed to report mistakes in time, he noted that the PCA acted as a “risk engine or targeting engine” in resolving issues.
“We study documents that have been submitted, and if we find that a company has misconducted business, we will visit them and do a field audit, and if inconsistencies are found there is a high chance of penalties being imposed.”

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The scheme is aimed at encouraging private sector businesses to come forward and highlight data inaccuracies that may have come about during the trade of goods.

“Once we have notified a company that it is being audited, it loses the chance of benefiting from the self-correction initiative. So, if a company comes forward voluntarily it can avail itself of the benefit.”
Alzamel said that the initiative would help to promote transparency with investors and the business sector while improving customs compliance and stability of growth for import companies and providing conditions to improve the level of customs commitment.
He added that importers would be able to apply for customs fees related to inaccurate information on value, origin and type of goods, and input data not declared to Saudi Customs.
When stakeholders applied for a correction before the discovery of a data error or the issue of subsequent audits on restrictions and records, they only needed to pay the differences in customs fees and due taxes, added Alzamel.
Importers can submit correction requests for six months via the initiative’s portal on the Saudi Customs website.


Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

Updated 2 min 33 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

  • The newly implemented system states that vehicles can only become licensed taxis if they have operated for less than five years
  • The taxis will be equipped with smart maps, free Wi-Fi, and a mobile app service that will hail the nearest taxi

JEDDAH: The minister of transport and chairman of the Public Transport Authority (PTA), Saleh Al-Jasser, launched a new, modern taxi project at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Wednesday.
As a result of collaboration between the PTA and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), taxis in the Kingdom, as well as gaining a new look and becoming more environmentally friendly, will now be equipped with electronic meter and payment facilities, as well as a supervised fare system.
Rumaih Al-Rumaih, president of the PTA said: “These new taxis are equipped with the latest technologies and features, and are aligned with public transportation systems.”
The launch is only one of numerous developments that aim to improve transportation, raise the quality of service for citizens and residents, and provide job opportunities in the Kingdom, added Al-Rumaih.
The newly implemented system states that vehicles can only become licensed taxis if they have operated for less than five years.
The green vehicles will be monitored and tracked to document quality of service and driver efficiency, equipped with screens that support both Arabic and English speakers in order to calculate fares, host driver information and provide a means to communicate with a command center.
They will be equipped with smart maps, free Wi-Fi, and a mobile app service that will hail the nearest taxi.
The new taxis will be appearing around major city airports, before becoming accessible on a larger scale over time as more taxis are licensed.