Access to most online Saudi government services restored for many people in debt

Saudi Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 30 January 2020

Access to most online Saudi government services restored for many people in debt

  • Those who owe relatively small amounts will only be denied access to online financial transactions
  • But those who owe more than SR1 million must pay it back within 3 months or face jail

JEDDAH: People in Saudi Arabia with legal judgments against them for failing to pay money they owe, or failing to carry out a judicial order, will no longer automatically be denied access to all online government services.

However, anyone who owes more than SR1 million and fails to pay it back within three months will be jailed.

Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani said the changes mean that the suspension of e-government access will be limited to services that involve financial transactions. Previously, it also prevented people in debt from using other online government services, such as renewing a driving license, passport, car license or ID card.

Yousef Al-Husaiky, a lawyer in Jeddah, said that he was surprised by the decision to lift the suspension of e-government services for those in debt, because before it was introduced, creditors often faced a long wait before getting their money back.

“It was a big problem for creditors until the service suspension came,” he said. “It forced debtors to implement court orders.

“That was a key factor in helping creditors get their money back. Suspending the electronic services of debtors who failed to fulfill their obligations was a good decision and has helped many people (reclaim what they were owed). That law does not exist in any other judiciary system.”

However, he added that the ministry would not have changed the law unless there was a good reason to do so.

“I think the main reason behind the decision was the fact that the ministry does not want the family of a debtor to suffer,” he said.

“There will always be reviews of laws to make sure that the public is receiving fair and equal treatment. What is happening in the Ministry of Justice is a true revolution that aims to meet the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030.”

However, some people fear that creditors will suffer as a result of the changes.

“The majority of people are simple and their debts rarely exceed one million,” said schoolteacher Salah Al-Zahrani. “That means debtors can now delay paying back creditors, which is the thing that puts the latter in trouble.”

Saudi air defense forces intercept Houthi ballistic missiles 

Updated 5 min 43 sec ago

Saudi air defense forces intercept Houthi ballistic missiles 

RIYADH: Saudi air defense forces shot down ballistic missiles launched by the Iran-backed Houthi "terrorists"  towards civilian areas in the Kingdom, the Coalition supporting Yemen's legitimate government said on Friday.

The missiles were intercepted at 12:30 a.m. after they were launched toward cities in Saudi Arabia, Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). 

"The missiles were launched in a systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians, which is a flagrant defiance of the International Humanitarian Law," the statement said.

It did not mentioned which cities were targeted. 

Yemen's capital, Sanaa "has become a Houthi militia assembly, installation and launching hub for ballistic missiles that target the Kingdom. The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has exercised extreme prudence and self-restraint in dealing with the violations of the Houthi militia through launching ballistic missiles, UAVs and Remote Controlled exploding boats.

"The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will continue to apply and implement all decisive and rigorous measures, in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law, to protect Coalition States’ nationals and expatriates from such barbaric attacks,” the statement said.