Saudi Arabia launches initiative to boost transport sector

Saudi Arabia launches initiative to boost transport sector
The initiative aims to enhance the authority’s services in the transport sector and offer incentives to potential investors in land, sea, and rail transport. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 02 May 2021

Saudi Arabia launches initiative to boost transport sector

Saudi Arabia launches initiative to boost transport sector
  • New program aims to strengthen public-private partnership

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Transport General Authority on Saturday launched its “Distinguished Transport Partner” program to strengthen public-private partnerships in the sector.

The program will benefit transport companies with a fleet of at least 500 licensed vehicles of different sizes including trucks, buses, and taxis.

The initiative aims to enhance the authority’s services in the transport sector and offer incentives to potential investors in land, sea, and rail transport.

In an official statement, the authority said the program was launched to expand the Kingdom’s transport sector, which will help boost its contribution to the national non-oil economy.

The authority said it will make use of all its electronic channels such as the Naql platform and the existing business service centers in 15 cities of the Kingdom to facilitate potential investors and existing transporters.

The centers are working in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Dammam and Al-Ahsa, Qassim, Tabuk, Hail, Arar, Al-Jouf, Al-Baha, Asir, Najran and Jizan.

The business centers allow clients to use multiple services through the digital package provided by the Naql gateway.

FASTFACTS

• The program will benefit transport companies with a fleet of at least 500 licensed vehicles of different sizes including trucks, buses, and taxis.

• The initiative offers incentives to potential investors in land, sea, and rail transport.

• The program aims to make Saudi Arabia a regional and international logistics hub.

Fahad Al-Baddah, the authority’s general supervisor of operations and digital transformation, said the authority is keen to strengthen its partnership with the private sector to achieve one of the Kingdom’s strategic goals of becoming a regional and international logistics hub. He said the authority is exploring ways to boost direct and indirect communication using different resources.

Al-Baddah said these efforts aim to boost the quality of services and sustainability of the Kingdom’s private transport sector. He said the newly launched initiative seeks to create an environment conducive to investment. It will encourage local and international investors to do business and expand their existing operations, the official said.

Al-Baddah said the initiative will also help achieve the primary goals of the “Shareek” initiative, which was recently launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He said detailed information about the program can be found at www.naql.sa and the authority’s social media account for customer service @Naql_SAUDI.


Saudi financial liquidity rises to record at end of April

Saudi financial liquidity rises to record at end of April
Updated 07 May 2021

Saudi financial liquidity rises to record at end of April

Saudi financial liquidity rises to record at end of April
  • Money supply increased 1 percent in the week to SR2.199 trillion

RIYADH: Saudi liquidity reached its highest level ever at the end of last week, April 29th, at SR2.199 trillion ($586.2 billion), compared with SR2.177 trillion a week earlier.

Money supply increased by 1 percent during the week, and 2.3 percent since the end of last year, Al Eqtisadiah reported, citing Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority data.

Money supply has been above SR2 trillion since May 7, 2020.


Saudi insurance sector grew 2.3 percent in 2020 amid pandemic

Saudi insurance sector grew 2.3 percent in 2020 amid pandemic
Updated 07 May 2021

Saudi insurance sector grew 2.3 percent in 2020 amid pandemic

Saudi insurance sector grew 2.3 percent in 2020 amid pandemic
  • Written premiums rose to SR38.78 billion
  • Net profit increased 61.1 percent

RIYADH: The Saudi insurance sector grew 2.3 percent in terms of written premiums in 2020, to SR38.78 billion ($10.3 billion), according to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority’s (SAMA) 14th annual report on the Saudi insurance market, issued on Thursday.

Energy and accident & liability insurance classes showed notable increases in written premiums with penetration of the sector increasing from 1.3 percent in 2019 to 1.5 percent in 2020.

In terms of underwriting performance, the overall loss ratio improved to 77.5 percent.

Insurance net profit (after zakat and tax) increased by 61.1 percent compared to the previous year’s corresponding figure, thereby improving the return-on-assets and return-on-equity ratios.

The SAMA report also noted that the overall Saudization ratio increased from 74 percent in 2019 to 75 percent in 2020.


Qatar Minister of Finance replaced after arrest

Qatar Minister of Finance replaced after arrest
Updated 07 May 2021

Qatar Minister of Finance replaced after arrest

Qatar Minister of Finance replaced after arrest
  • Al-Emadi replaced by Minister of Trade and Industry
  • Al-Emadi accused of embezzlement, abuse of power

RIYADH: Qatar’s Emir has replaced the Minister of Finance following his arrest, according to a Royal statement on Thursday.

“Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, Minister of Finance, is relieved of his position, and Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Trade and Industry, in addition to his duties, is to be entrusted with the duties of the Minister of Finance,” Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported citing the Amiri order.

The public prosecutor said earlier Emadi was being questioned over allegations of embezzlement, abuse of power and crimes related to the public sector, according to a statement carried by the official state news agency. An investigation is underway.


Saudi cement companies post $237.9m net profit in Q1 2021

Saudi cement companies post $237.9m net profit in Q1 2021
Updated 07 May 2021

Saudi cement companies post $237.9m net profit in Q1 2021

Saudi cement companies post $237.9m net profit in Q1 2021
  • Net profits were 15 percent lower than a year ago
  • Four companies saw record profit growth while 10 experienced a decline

RIYADH: Saudi cement companies listed in the main market during the first quarter of this year 2021 achieved net profits of SR892.5 million ($237.9 million), compared to about SR1.05 billion for the same period last year, recording about 15 percent decline.

Four companies recorded record growth, while the remaining 10 saw a decline, Al Eqtisadiah reported citing Saudi financial market data.

Najran Cement recorded the highest growth in net profit with 51.4 percent, while Arabian Cement Co. achieved 48.6 percent growth, followed by Al Jouf Cement, up 15.4 percent.

Tabuk Cement posted the biggest decline in net profit, decreasing by 75.6 percent to SR7.1 million.

Cement companies’ revenues decreased 1.5 percent during the first quarter of this year to SR2.94 billion, compared to about SR2.98 billion for the same period in 2020. Revenues grew by 2 percent compared with the previous quarter.


King Fahd Causeway reopening to give Bahrain $2.9bn tourism boost

King Fahd Causeway reopening to give Bahrain $2.9bn tourism boost
Updated 07 May 2021

King Fahd Causeway reopening to give Bahrain $2.9bn tourism boost

King Fahd Causeway reopening to give Bahrain $2.9bn tourism boost
  • Saudis make up 88 percent of Bahrain's visitors
  • Bahrain attracted 9 million tourists in 2019

RIYADH: The reopening of the King Fahd Causeway, which connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, will add up to $2.9 billion to Bahrain’s economy this year, based on average tourism spending in 2019, according to the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Saudi Arabia has said it will reopen land, sea and air border crossings on May 17th.

Bahrain attracted nearly 11 million visitors in 2019, of which 9 million were tourists. Saudis account for 88 percent of Bahrain’s visitors, the majority of whom come via the causeway.

Although trade between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia has continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism has been severely affected, Asharrq reported citing Ali Al-Midfa, executive director of investments at the Economic Development Board.

“Bahrain offers promising opportunities in multiple tourism sectors that can benefit from the Kingdom’s proximity to Saudi Arabia, as well as opportunities in the real estate and investment sectors, which are expected to recover with the opening of the bridge,” he said.

Bahrain Customs installed artificial intelligence scanners on the bridge, and worked to automate the data collection process and allow cargo inspections before reaching the ports, said the First Vice President of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khaled Mohamed Najibi.