RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is tapping in to cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence as it steps up efforts to combat shadow economy activities, according to the Saudi commerce minister, Majid Al Qasabi.
The minister indicated that the Kingdom is taking the issue of combating the shadow economy seriously, as it initiates a new directive to form an anti-cover-up committee comprising of 20 entities to fight it, toughen and modernize the penalties and the system.
The Kingdom considers the issue to be the most prominent problem in the non-oil sector.
Those engaged in the shadow economy face harsher penalties to with up to five years in prison, a fine of up to SR5 million - it is currently SR1 million - modernize the types of oversight by analyzing data, following up on funds, and monitoring workers and economic movement through artificial intelligence, he added.
The shadow economy is like the cancer that ravages the Kingdom's economy, Al Qasabi, who is also acting minister of media, said at a conference held on Monday.
Some of the shadow economy practices include enabling a non-Saudi to work for himself independently but using the cover of a Saudi party but without abiding by the existing rules set out by the government