Afghan money exchangers on strike after license fee hike

Afghan money changers wait for customers along a street near the currency exchange Sarai Shahzada market in Kabul on Sunday. AFP
Afghan money changers wait for customers along a street near the currency exchange Sarai Shahzada market in Kabul on Sunday. AFP
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Updated 15 May 2022

Afghan money exchangers on strike after license fee hike

Afghan money exchangers on strike after license fee hike

Thousands of money exchangers shut shop across Afghanistan on Sunday after Taliban authorities imposed a steep hike in license fees, the brokers’ commission said, in a bid to slow down money laundering and terrorism financing according to financial analysts.

Afghanistan’s formal banking system collapsed when the Taliban swept back to power in August last year, ending two decades of US-led military intervention in the deeply impoverished nation.

Since then money exchangers — who swap currencies, make informal cash transfers and even give loans — have played a key role in meeting the financial needs of 38 million citizens mired in humanitarian crisis.

“Thousands of money exchangers are shut in most parts of the country to protest against the central bank’s conditions,” Abdul Rahman Zeerak, spokesman for Afghanistan’s Money Exchange Commission, told AFP.

He said the central bank had raised license fees to 5 million Afghanis ($56,000) from around 300,000.

Zeerak also claimed the bank is insisting transactions are conducted online under new licenses and brokers must have a minimum of 50 million Afghanis to operate.

“This is a lot of money,” he said. “Money exchangers are not that strong financially.”

The brokers’ commission said currency traders in the capital Kabul and cities such as Herat and Kunduz were shut as part of the strike.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s central bank — Da Afghanistan Bank — warned that exchangers operating without a license “will face legal action.”

Spokesman Mohammad Sabir Momand said in a statement that the institution was “committed to transparency and security” in the financial sector.

While informal money exchangers provide a vital service, they also lack oversight and analysts say their system can be used to launder money and finance militant organizations.

Khan Afzal Hadawal, Afghanistan central bank’s former deputy governor, said the Taliban’s new initiative was motivated by a desire to demonstrate to the international community that it is stymying terror groups in the nation.

“The easiest way for money launderers and terrorists was to go through the money exchangers,” Hadawal told AFP.

“What they (Taliban government) have done is they have increased the requirements, so that those who cannot qualify ... by default they will be shut down.”


Saudi IT firm Al Moammar secures $15m in contracts with two firms

Saudi IT firm Al Moammar secures $15m in contracts with two firms
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi IT firm Al Moammar secures $15m in contracts with two firms

Saudi IT firm Al Moammar secures $15m in contracts with two firms

RIYADH: Saudi IT solution provider Al Moammar Information Systems Co. won an SR34.4 million ($9 million) project with the Saudi Co. for Comprehensive Technical and Security Control.

The deal, valid for 36 months, is to implement a project to raise the operational efficiency of the security firm.

The IT firm, known as MIS, was also awarded a three-year contract with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology worth SR21.9 million, according to a bourse filing.

In a separate announcement, MIS said its board approved the distribution of SR36 million in dividends at SR1.2 per share for the first half of 2022.


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday
Updated 5 min 2 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock market posted its second-largest monthly decline of the year in June, led by fears of interest rate hikes weighing on investor optimism.

TASI, as the main index is known, ended June losing 11 percent to reach 11,523 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session, while Nomu exited the month at 21,585.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, stock exchanges of Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Oman shed between 0.1 and 0.7 percent, while those of Bahrain and Kuwait were up 0.8 and 0.2 percent, respectively.

In energy trading, Brent crude settled at $111.63 a barrel on Friday, while US West Texas Intermediate reached $108.43 a barrel.

Stock news

The Saudi National Bank will distribute dividends of SR4.9 billion ($1.3 billion) in total to its shareholders for the first half of 2022

Saudi Industrial Development Co.’s unit Sleep High signed a deal worth SR12.7 million annually with Emmdad Logistics Services

Al Moammar Information Systems Co. won a SR34.4 million project with the Saudi Co. for Comprehensive Technical and Security Control in addition to a SR21.9 million deal with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

Al Moammar Information Systems Co.’s board of directors approved the distribution of SR1.2 per share in dividends for the first half of 2022

Arabian Pipes Co. was awarded a SR60 million deal to supply oil and gas steel pipes to oil giant Aramco

International Human Resources Co. intends to proceed with a 20-percent stake initial public offering on Saudi Arabia’s parallel Nomu market

Arabian Centres Co. declared a cash dividend of SR0.75 per share for the second half of its fiscal year ended March 31, 2022

Banque Saudi Fransi signed a SR44 million contract with Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Co. for credit life insurance coverage

Shareholders of ACWA Power Co. approved the recommendation to distribute a SR0.77 dividend per share for 2021

Thimar Development Holding Co.’s losses widened by 79 percent to SR11.7 million in 2021

Shareholders of Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance Co. approved a dividend payout of SR4.5 per share for the fiscal year 2021

L’azurde Co. for Jewelry got its shareholders’ approval to distribute cash dividends of SR0.25 per share for 2021

Al-Alamiya for Cooperative Insurance Co. sealed a five-year bancassurance distribution agreement with Riyad Bank

Unitholders of Albilad Saudi Sovereign Sukuk ETF are set to receive SR80,808 in total as cash dividends for the month of June

Saudi Real Estate Co.’s subsidiary Tamear got its shareholders’ approval to reduce capital from SR100 million to SR34 million

Calendar

July 4, 2022

Launch of single-stock futures trading on Tadawul

July 7, 2022

Saudi Exchange will close for Eid Al Adha holidays and resume trading on July 13


Saudi iHR selects Yaqeen Capital to advise on IPO for 20% stake

Saudi iHR selects Yaqeen Capital to advise on IPO for 20% stake
Updated 16 min 41 sec ago

Saudi iHR selects Yaqeen Capital to advise on IPO for 20% stake

Saudi iHR selects Yaqeen Capital to advise on IPO for 20% stake

RIYADH: Saudi recruitment service provider International Human Resources has selected Yaqeen Capital to advise on its potential initial public offering on the Kingdom’s stock market.

The company is looking to offer 500,000 shares, representing 20 percent of its capital, on the parallel market Nomu, according to a filing.

The IPO will be confined to qualified investors, who will be allowed to subscribe starting July 31 until Aug. 2.

Established in 2005, iHR offers human resources solutions and employment-related consultancy to businesses.

Saudi iHR selects Yaqeen Capital to advise on IPO for 20% stake

RIYADH: Saudi recruitment service provider International Human Resources has selected Yaqeen Capital to advise on its potential initial public offering on the Kingdom’s stock market.

The company is looking to offer 500,000 shares, representing 20 percent of its capital, on the parallel market Nomu, according to a filing.

The IPO will be confined to qualified investors, who will be allowed to subscribe starting July 31 until Aug. 2.

Established in 2005, iHR offers human resources solutions and employment-related consultancy to businesses.


Saudi Aramco awards $16m steel pipes order to Arabian Pipes

Saudi Aramco awards $16m steel pipes order to Arabian Pipes
Updated 47 min ago

Saudi Aramco awards $16m steel pipes order to Arabian Pipes

Saudi Aramco awards $16m steel pipes order to Arabian Pipes

RIYADH: Saudi oil giant Aramco has given out an order worth SR60 million ($16 million) to homegrown Arabian Pipes Co. to supply steel pipes.

The contract will be valid for one year, the Riyadh-based pipe manufacturer said in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul.

Arabian Pipes expects the transaction to impact its financial statements starting from the second quarter of 2023.

This comes as an extension to two contracts awarded by Aramco to Arabian Pipes so far this year, worth SR368 million in total.


Saudi National Bank to pay $1.3bn in dividends for H1 2022

Saudi National Bank to pay $1.3bn in dividends for H1 2022
Updated 59 min 57 sec ago

Saudi National Bank to pay $1.3bn in dividends for H1 2022

Saudi National Bank to pay $1.3bn in dividends for H1 2022

RIYADH: The Saudi National Bank, one of the Kingdom’s biggest lenders, will distribute SR4.92 billion ($1.31 billion) in dividends for the first half of 2022.

With over 4.47 billion shares eligible for dividends, the payout per share is SR1.1, the bank said in a bourse filing.

The lender had earlier posted a 32-percent surge in its quarterly profit to SR4.5 billion, from SR3.4 billion in the same period last year.