Who’s Who: Abdullah Mohammed Al-Sadhan, vice governor at KSA’s  Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority

Abdullah Mohammed Al-Sadhan
Abdullah Mohammed Al-Sadhan
Short Url
Updated 18 October 2021

Who’s Who: Abdullah Mohammed Al-Sadhan, vice governor at KSA’s  Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority

Who’s Who: Abdullah Mohammed Al-Sadhan, vice governor at KSA’s  Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority

Abdullah Mohammed Al-Sadhan is vice governor of operations at the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority after the merger of the General Authority of Zakat and Tax and the General Authority of Saudi Customs as of October 2021.

Prior to assuming this role, he served as deputy governor of operations at the erstwhile GAZT since 2017 and played a prominent role in the implementation of VAT in the Kingdom. This gained him a reputation as a strong and supportive leader who can successfully deliver national-level strategic projects in challenging and highly pressurized environments.

Before joining the ZATCA, he worked as director of planning and performance at STC from 2016 to 2017, where he devised and implemented strategic business plans, contributed to the expansion of business opportunities and managed bottom-line factors to maximize efficiency and realize substantial revenue growth.

He worked as an advisor at the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants from 2013 to 2016, where he participated, in collaboration with the former Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in building and launching the Qaweem system, which allows companies to deposit all financial information electronically using innovative technology tools, such as InlineXBRL. Here, Al-Sadhan also played a prominent role in establishing the Bayan Credit Bureau.

Prior to this, he also worked with the Saudi Stock Exchange from 2006 to 2013, where he led major projects including new system implementations and the introduction of a new issuer listing process.

Al-Sadhan is also currently a board member at the Saudi Business Center and SOCPA since January 2019.

He was a member of the Audit Committee at the Bayan Credit Bureau from June 2017 to December 2020.

He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in professional accounting from King Saud University and a diploma in commercial banks credit from the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Services.


Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent

Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent
Updated 6 sec ago

Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent

Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent
  • ‘Sea of Sands’ and ‘Valley Road’ to release in 2023; ‘Anti-Cinema’ in post production and expected to hit international film fests soon

JEDDAH: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) discussed its three new films at a press conference at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival on Wednesday.

The conference was attended by local and international press. The center was represented by Tariq Khawaji, Ithra’s chief librarian and the program’s cultural consultant and supervisor of the reading program, and Majed Samman, Ithra’s head of performing arts and cinema, who is also a Saudi filmmaker, producer, actor and editor.

The three movies under the Ithra production banner include a feature film, “Sea of Sands,” by celebrated Egyptian screenwriter and producer Mohamed Hefzy, a leading figure in the industry in the Middle East and Africa who has written, produced and co-produced nearly 40 feature films in Egypt, the US, the UK and the Arab world.

The second film is “Valley Road,” a Saudi film, including its cast, crew, and location. It will be filmed in Faifa and Soudah in the southern region of the Kingdom by the award-winning Saudi independent filmmaker Khalid Fahad.

The third is a feature documentary called “Anti-Cinema,” about the Kingdom’s cinematic heritage, directed by Ali Saeed and Hassan Saeed. “Sea of Sands” and “Valley Road” are both scheduled for release in 2023.

Samman, who is the producer of “Sea of Sands” and “Valley Road,” told Arab News about “Anti-Cinema,” a documentary that brings Saudi Arabia’s film history to the big screen and is a winner of the Ithra Content Commission Initiative, currently in post-production and expected to hit the international film festival circuit soon.

“Anti-Cinema will be the most controversial piece non-Saudi viewers will ever watch. It tells the history of cinema from the 1940s and 1950s all the way until the Red Sea Film Festival today. So, for us, and especially for our era, people will say, oh my god, I remember this, I remember that, it’s very nostalgic.”

He added: “But for the outside world, they would say that they had no idea they have cinemas in Saudi and I had no idea that they were making movies. It’s going to be an eye-opener for a lot of people. So it’s going to be very controversial.”

“The two films that we’re going to premiere in 2023 are the first of many films, and they’re going to be showing the world and Saudi Arabia how quality films are made. And I can’t wait for people to see it.”

We really want to give as much as possible the opportunity for these Saudi filmmakers to join an international film and expose them to the filmmaking process, and that would give them a push so they can decide if they want to be filmmakers or not.

Majed Samman, Ithra’s head of performing arts and cinema

During the conference, Ithra announced the opening of registration for a training program designed to take Saudi’s film industry to the next level.

The program aims to elevate local talent to a higher standard with international appeal. Samman told Arab News: “The program targets Saudi national talents aged 18-year-old and above. We put down eight different categories for them to join us. Participants need to submit their CV; they have to submit their previous work, their portfolio, and then we’re going to have to decide with judges.”

Samman added: “We really want to give as much as possible the opportunity for these Saudi filmmakers to join an international film and expose them to the filmmaking process, and that would give them a push so they can decide if they want to be filmmakers or not.”

The center has also opened registration for “Sea of Sands”’ shadowing program, linked to its strategic commitment to nurture and develop talent across the Kingdom’s creative industries.

Ithra Film Productions has helped dozens of filmmakers bring their dreams to life. One of the largest movie producers in the Kingdom, it has produced 20 films, 15 of which have received local, regional and international awards.

“We have produced more films in Saudi Arabia than any other entity, including 20 films to date for the past three years now, two feature films, and 18 short films. Most of these films are now on Netflix, Shahad and Saudi airlines. We want to continue making films, and mostly independent films, because like I said, we want to do the best-quality films that would cost a very good amount of money.”

Ithra is the Kingdom’s premier cultural and creative destination for talent development and cross-cultural experiences. It is an innovative and interactive public space for workshops, performances, events, exhibitions and experiences.


Saudi Arabia forms new working group within UN tourism body

Saudi Arabia forms new working group within UN tourism body
Updated 25 min 34 sec ago

Saudi Arabia forms new working group within UN tourism body

Saudi Arabia forms new working group within UN tourism body
  • It was the first global tourism meeting since the virus outbreak

MADRID: A Saudi Ministry of Tourism delegation recently took part in the UN World Tourism Organization general assembly meeting held in Spain.

The UNWTO gathering, which takes place every two years, aimed to show the sector’s determination to lead tourism’s recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, through innovation, education, and investment.

The organization, a specialized UN agency responsible for promoting the development of the tourism sector globally, staged its 24th general assembly session at the UNWTO’s headquarters in Madrid.

It was the first global tourism meeting since the virus outbreak, and delegates from more than 100 countries shared their achievements over the past two years in helping the sector get through the health crisis.

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb, who headed the Kingdom’s delegation, said: “Despite its relatively recent presence in the international tourism arena, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays a major global role in this field.”

He noted that the country had great tourism ambitions and sought to make the sector one of the largest contributors to the economic transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

One of the main achievements of the Saudi delegation during the meeting was the formation of a new working group to support the agency in increasing the transparency and effectiveness of its current and future work. The group will also assist in developing initiatives to help respond to the needs of member states, revitalizing the UNTWO for a better future for tourism.

Among Saudi Arabia’s recent achievements in the tourism sector was the opening of a UNWTO regional office in Riyadh, which will serve as a hub for the agency to coordinate policy and initiatives across its 13 member states in the region.


Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 46 new infections

Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 46 new infections
Updated 08 December 2021

Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 46 new infections

Saudi Arabia records 2 COVID-19 deaths, 46 new infections
  • The health ministry says 64 patients have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours
  • Municipalities close several businesses and issue fines to a number of others for breaching coronavirus protocols

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed two new COVID-19 related deaths on Wednesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,849.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 46 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 550,043 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 29 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 16, followed by Jeddah with 10, while Tabuk, Makkah and Dhahran confirmed two cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 64 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 539,205.
Over 47.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 22.7 million people have been fully vaccinated.


Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of Eastern Province carried out 3,687 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the last three days. Authorities recorded 211 violations and closed three businesses for not adhering to the precautionary measures.
Jeddah Municipality carried out 6,081 tours in the past two days and field teams issued fines to 32 commercial outlets and closed 10 others for breaching protocols.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 267 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 5.29 million.


Saudi hands turn Al-Khuzama Park into the paradise of the Groves

Saudi hands turn Al-Khuzama Park into the paradise of the Groves
Updated 08 December 2021

Saudi hands turn Al-Khuzama Park into the paradise of the Groves

Saudi hands turn Al-Khuzama Park into the paradise of the Groves
  • The Groves, in the Diplomatic Quarter, is set in Al-Khuzama Park, one of the famous green spaces in Riyadh at Wadi Hanifah

RIYADH: The woman behind the success of the Groves, one of the 14 zones in this year’s Riyadh Season, revealed to Arab News how she realized the project in only 45 days.

“The planning ran from January till September. We had only 45 days to put it together,” said Siham Hassanain, general manager of the Groves.

“All of the designs have been done by Saudi hands. All of the restaurants are local brands Everything you see, from lighting to construction to organizers, is Saudi. The zone was built by a local company called Zivix International Holding,” she added.

The Groves, in the Diplomatic Quarter, is set in Al-Khuzama Park, one of the famous green spaces in Riyadh at Wadi Hanifah.

“It all started in 2019, I had some work to do in the diplomatic quarter, and I entered the park and fell in love with its beauty,” she said.

Hassanain said she researched the place and found out that the park was built 38 years ago when the diplomatic quarter was established. 

The zone was built around nature so that no trees were destroyed. (Supplied)

Turki Al-Shaikh, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and chairman of the Season, had tweeted that anyone with a new idea for Riyadh Season should present it to the authority.

“The first thing that came to my mind was Al-Khuzama Park. I didn’t expect at all, not even 1 percent, that this zone would become a reality. But I told myself I should put all of my energy in this place,” Hassanain said.

After Hassanain pitched her idea to the GEA, she was selected as one of the 20 winning initiatives for the Riyadh Season, and her concept won first place.

“When the announcement came out, I was happy and excited for the first five minutes, then the sense of responsibility kicked in,” she said.

Hassanain says the Groves is filled with trees and fields: “You can hear fountains, water, and birds. The place also has a special scent.” 

The zone contains several open spaces, including an area surrounded by palm trees where visitors can discover various activities. (Supplied)

The Groves’ logo has the four elements of life: water, air, fire, and earth, which Hassanain included in the zone as water resembles relaxation, fire action and attractions, earth food, and air resembles memories.

She faced many challenges while executing the project as everything was done by hand to make sure no plants or trees were destroyed.

She said she had a fantastic Saudi team who helped her and believed and loved the concept even more than she did. “I was anxious they were passionate, I was nervous they were enjoying it … so these feelings created a balance.”

Hassanain noted that in the past Saudi females faced some obstacles in being part of building the country. “Had it not been for the support and vision of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman this wouldn’t exist,” she said.

“If we compare the Boulevard Riyadh City zone in 2019 to the zone in 2021, you can see the big jump. We will amaze the whole world and become the first in the entertainment sector.”


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar, meets emir

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar, meets emir
Updated 52 min 17 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar, meets emir

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrives in Qatar, meets emir
  • Sheikh Tamim said the prince’s visit will deepen the strong ties, especially in light of the conditions in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday arrived in the Qatari capital, Doha, on the third leg of his official tour of neighboring Gulf countries.

Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Tamim reviewed relations between their two countries and ways to enhance cooperation in various fields, as well as the latest regional and international developments.

The crown prince and emir signed the minutes of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council meeting at the end of the session.

Sheikh Tamim said the prince’s visit will deepen the strong ties, especially in light of the conditions in the region.

“The relations of brotherhood and cooperation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia are based on solid foundations of a common history and destiny,” he said in a tweet.

“Today, I discussed with my brother, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, ways to enhance this cooperation between our two countries (and) I also affirmed with him our common concern to support security and stability in our region and the region,” Sheikh Tamim said, adding: “Welcome my brother Mohammad to Qatar.”

Upon his arrival at Doha International Airport, the crown prince was received by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad.

An official ceremony and procession was held to welcome Prince Mohammed at the Amiri Diwan, where he also met senior Qatari officials.

The crown prince then visited the Consultative Assembly, where he was greeted by a number of officials.

Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Tamim presided over the 6th Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council meeting, where the Qatari leader welcomed the crown prince to Qatar.

The crown prince expressed his thanks and appreciation to the emir for the warm reception and generous hospitality, and conveyed greetings from King Salman.

The crown prince arrived in Doha from the UAE on the third leg of his official tour of Gulf states. He began in Oman and is expected to visit Bahrain and Kuwait, where he will meet with leaders and senior officials in an effort to boost relations.