Saudi authorities to pay VAT on private educational services

The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority said that it will bear value-added tax due on private educational services. (Twitter/@moe_gov_sa)
The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority said that it will bear value-added tax due on private educational services. (Twitter/@moe_gov_sa)
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Updated 05 September 2021

Saudi authorities to pay VAT on private educational services

Saudi authorities to pay VAT on private educational services
  • It will include school expenses, including the value of textbooks sold by private and international schools that are subject to tax
  • Ministry of Education will start implementing skills enhancement tests on Sunday in schools at all levels

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia announced that the state would bear value-added tax due on private educational services provided to citizens.
The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority said that this will include school expenses, including the value of textbooks sold by private and international schools that are subject to tax and approved by the Ministry of Education.
The authority said it is implementing a royal decree, which stipulates that the state would shoulder VAT for citizens benefiting from the private education sector.
It also said that the educational services include assistance provided by private universities (for undergraduates) that fall under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.
Educational and training programs supervised by the General Organization for Technical and Vocational Training will also be covered. 
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education will start implementing skills enhancement tests on Sunday in schools at all levels.
Students will undergo the tests through an electronic central platform to measure the skills and knowledge that students acquired during the previous academic year in basic subjects, such as Arabic, mathematics, science and English. 
The tests will help provide information to teachers about the achievement of each student to address weaknesses, enhance and invest in strengths, and develop teaching plans to improve their skills.


Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy

Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy
Updated 10 sec ago

Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy

Plight of Palestinians still a key focus of Saudi foreign policy, says envoy
  • Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, was addressing a General Assembly meeting about Palestinian question
  • ‘Israel’s unilateral measures will lead to a disruption of security and stability, particularly in Palestine but also in the wider Middle East,’ he said

NEW YORK: The Palestinian issue will remain a major focus of Saudi Arabian foreign policy until Palestinians regain their rights and succeed in establishing a state of their own with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN said.

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi also reiterated Riyadh’s rejection and denunciation of the continuing confiscation of Palestinian homes and land by Israel, along with its violation of the sanctity of the Temple Mount and attempts to obliterate its Arab and Islamic identity.

“These aggressive Israeli measures will undermine the chances of peace,” Al-Mouallimi told the UN General Assembly in New York late on Wednesday, during a plenary meeting to discuss the Palestinian question and the situation in the wider Middle East.

“The policy of settlement building and colonial expansion carried out by the occupying Israeli authorities on Palestinian land is liable to destroy the possibility of peaceful coexistence,” he said.

“Israel’s unilateral measures will lead to a disruption of security and stability, particularly in Palestine but also in the wider Middle East.”

The plenary session took place days after the 74th anniversary of resolution 181, which was passed by the General Assembly on Nov. 29, 1947. It called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with the city of Jerusalem a separate entity to be governed by an international regime.

“More than 75 years have passed since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945,” and for more than 70 years the issue of Palestine has been on its agenda, Al-Mouallimi said. Saudi Arabia’s historical position of support for “the inalienable and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including (their) right to establish their independent state, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, (in line with) the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative” remains unchanged, he added.

The Saudi envoy once again stressed the need for the international community to live up to its responsibilities and call on Israel to end its occupation of Arab land in Palestine, the Golan and Lebanon.

“It is unfortunate that the Israeli occupation authorities continue to violate the rights of the Palestinian people, and practice the most heinous forms of crimes, (including the use of) excessive force against a defenseless people,” Al-Mouallimi said.

He described Israel’s settlement expansions as “a clear violation and disregard for the international community” and called on that global community to protect the Palestinian people.

Al-Mouallimi thanked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its work, which he said is conducted “despite the dangers and difficult conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a result of the stifling measures by the occupation authorities.”

He urged UN member states to work together and provide the necessary support for the agency “to carry out its humanitarian work in the occupied territory.”

The Saudi envoy also thanked Ambassador Cheikh Niang, the Senegalese chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for its latest report on Palestine.

He assured him of the Kingdom’s backing for the report and called on member states to support and adopt a resolution drafted by Dakar, titled “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine.”


King Salman architecture, urbanism exhibition launches in Riyadh

King Salman architecture, urbanism exhibition launches in Riyadh
Updated 02 December 2021

King Salman architecture, urbanism exhibition launches in Riyadh

King Salman architecture, urbanism exhibition launches in Riyadh
  • The exhibition is an urban vision inspired by the monarch

RIYADH: The Saudi Architecture and Design Commission on Wednesday launched the King Salman Urban Charter for Architecture and Urbanism initiative during a special ceremony at Tuwaiq Palace, in Riyadh.

Government officials, including Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, and the commission’s Chief Executive Officer Sumaya Al-Solaiman, attended the event. The exhibition is an urban vision inspired by the monarch.

Speaking at the launch, Al-Solaiman said: “I extend my deepest thanks and gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the generous support of the cultural sector in the Kingdom and for drawing a distinctive cultural identity for our country in all our development fields, including the field of architecture, which has received special care that is reflected in urban values.”

King Salman spent more than 50 years as governor of Riyadh where he drove through urbanization schemes while also preserving the authentic cultural identity of the region.

The exhibition opened in Riyadh marked the launch of the King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism which aims to celebrate and promote the national architectural identity of cities throughout the Kingdom.

Other charter launches will take place in the country as part of a traveling exhibition visiting cities including Jeddah, Abha, and Dammam. Each event will highlight the specific architecture of the region and the pivotal role played by King Salman in bringing the concepts to life.

The Riyadh exhibition — open to the public for four weeks — contains many architectural and rehabilitation projects from the capital that won international and local awards. It also takes visitors through a timeline of development of the city beginning with the birth of King Salman in 1935 in a section titled, “Growing Up in The Old Riyadh.”

The stages of urbanization development in Riyadh, including “Accelerated Modernity” in the 1950s with pressure to equip residents with modern architectural amenities, are also showcased along with a section focusing on the steps taken by King Salman to preserve the architectural identity of the capital during the modernization program.

“King Salman chose to draw inspiration from our history and our authentic cultural heritage. In the King Salman urban charter, we extracted the extensive guiding values and reformulated them in a scientific template in order to enrich urban thought, deepen experiences and dialogue, and create local identities,” Al-Solaiman added.

In order to create the charter a major study was conducted on the different types of architecture from various regions in order to capture the authentic urban identity of the Kingdom.


Dinosaurs adventure will take you back to the cretaceous period

Dinosaurs adventure will take you back to the cretaceous period
Updated 02 December 2021

Dinosaurs adventure will take you back to the cretaceous period

Dinosaurs adventure will take you back to the cretaceous period
  • Interactive experience leaves visitors wondering if creatures on show might even be real

RIYADH: Riyadh Season’s dinosaur adventure Imagine More, at Riyadh Boulevard, will take you on a ride back in time to meet and interact with life-sized dinosaurs.

The 60-minute interactive theater allows people to touch, watch, learn about and interact with dinosaurs.

Through an interactive time machine, visitors travel 67 million years back to the cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the planet.

“When visitors hear about the dinosaur world, they think it’s just a gallery but it’s not. It is an adventure that visitors are a part of. They will interact with our scientists and protection force,” Awadh Almutairi, project manager, told Arab News.

Almutairi highlighted that features a new ride every six minutes, with maximum 35 visitors per ride, with the whole thing starting with a 3D show before visitors head to an underground base.

In the base, visitors get to watch dinosaur eggs hatch, see an autopsy of a dinosaur corpse, engage in dinosaur petting and face trying to run from a tyrannosaurus trying to enter the base.

Almutairi added that a lot of children already know the names of the dinosaurs, with the adventure showcased in Arabic and English for foreigners.

“The turnout of adults was more than that of children at first, and sometimes some of them try the experience again with different friends, which is an experience that is closer to reality. If you can see the dinosaur, the dinosaur can see you too,” Almutairi added. 

He said that some visitors have to ask if the dinosaurs are real or fake. One of the visitors, Abdullah Kayyal, 19, told Arab News that he never experienced something this realistic before.

“I tried something similar in America, but the realism here was so strong that I didn’t feel like it was a screen,” Kayyal commented.

This interactive theater is the second of its kind in the world after the London experience, launched in 2017. The second dinosaur theater was supposed to in Germany, but because of the coronavirus pandemic it was delayed and Riyadh’s opened ahead of it.


British Consulate in Jeddah hosts reception to mark inaugural Saudi F1 Grand Prix

British Consulate in Jeddah hosts reception to mark inaugural Saudi F1 Grand Prix
Updated 02 December 2021

British Consulate in Jeddah hosts reception to mark inaugural Saudi F1 Grand Prix

British Consulate in Jeddah hosts reception to mark inaugural Saudi F1 Grand Prix

JEDDAH: The British Consulate in Jeddah recently hosted a special reception to celebrate the inaugural Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 that roars into action in the Red Sea port city on Friday.

The event, organized in partnership with the Saudi Motorsport Co., was attended by chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and SMC, Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, and SMC chief executive officer, Martin Whitaker, along with senior business and government figures.

The Kingdom’s first female professional racing driver, Reema Juffali, was also among the guests who were treated to a display of some of the best of British engineering and motorsport.

On show at the reception was the legendary Saudia airlines-sponsored 1980 Williams FW07 Formula 1 racing car, reflecting Saudi Arabia’s long relationship with Formula 1. This classic car will be driven each day of the sporting weekend on the new Jeddah Corniche Circuit alongside Aston Martin safety vehicles also featuring at the race meeting.

Speaking at the reception, British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton, said: “The debut of Formula 1 in the Kingdom is another important first for Saudi Arabia. I am delighted to celebrate it here in Jeddah and look forward to watching the race with our Saudi hosts and friends.

“Formula 1 is an industry with deep roots in the UK. With seven out of the 10 F1 teams based in the UK, the event will showcase British innovation and manufacturing excellence on the amazing new Jeddah Corniche Circuit – another great example of the strong collaboration between our two countries.”

British firms are at the forefront of the motorsport industry’s rapid technological innovation. Increasingly, the technology used in the sector is filtering down into the wider automotive sector and other industries such as health and infrastructure.

At the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, British Formula 1 teams set up the Project Pitlane initiative to utilize the industry’s manufacturing expertise to support the development of new COVID-19 respiratory devices.

British Consul General Seif Usher, who also attended the Jeddah reception, said: “Formula 1 encapsulates so much of what Vision 2030 is seeking to achieve, bringing world-class technology and creativity to the Kingdom, and boosting efforts to expand the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia.

“The new Saudi Motorsport Co., led by CEO Martin Whitaker, is doing an amazing job to develop the motorsport industry in the Kingdom, building on the successful Saudi UK partnership of KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) and the famous F1 racing team McLaren.

“And with millions of global viewers turning on to watch the race on Sunday evening, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Whitaker said: “It is a real thrill to be here tonight to celebrate the fusion of two cultures with such a passion for all things motorsports. On the eve of the first ever Formula 1 race in Saudi Arabia, it gives me an immense feeling of pride and satisfaction to witness the best of British and Saudi innovation and industry come together to celebrate this remarkable milestone in the Kingdom’s history.

“Formula 1’s deep ties to the UK are well known and form the backbone of this sport. As such, to experience the way the people of Saudi Arabia have so passionately embraced the pinnacle of motorsport gives me great confidence that Formula 1 – and motorsport in general – has found a wonderful new home here.

“I look forward to many more years of fruitful cooperation between both countries,” the CEO added.

The Grand Prix will be held in Jeddah between Dec. 3 and 5, with the drivers set to race around what will be the longest, and fastest, street circuit in Formula 1 history.


Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season gets more than 4.5 million visits

Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season gets more than 4.5 million visits
Updated 02 December 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season gets more than 4.5 million visits

Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season gets more than 4.5 million visits
  • More than 122,000 jobs were offered by the season
  • The Groves, one of the season’s 14 zones, opened its doors on Monday for visitors

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season has recorded over 4.5 million visits in a month, state news agency SPA reported.
More than 122,000 jobs were also offered by the season, SPA added.
The Groves, one of the season’s 14 zones, opened its doors on Monday for visitors to experience the site’s spa, restaurants, shops and shows.
The Groves has combined work and relaxation through an area called The House, which offers business meeting rooms in a luxurious environment.
The Riyadh Season 2021 was launched on Oct. 20 and includes 14 areas: Boulevard Riyadh City, Via Riyadh, Combat Field, Al-Athriyah, Riyadh Oasis, The Groves, Riyadh Winter Wonderland, Riyadh Front, Al-Murabba, Riyadh Pulse, Riyadh Safari, Al-Salam Tree, Khalouha and Zaman Village.