Crown Prince announces Sindalah, NEOM’s first luxury island development

Crown Prince announces Sindalah, NEOM’s first luxury island development
The island will act as a main gateway to the Red Sea (SPA)
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Updated 05 December 2022

Crown Prince announces Sindalah, NEOM’s first luxury island development

Crown Prince announces Sindalah, NEOM’s first luxury island development
  • Sindalah is one of a group of islands that will be developed in the giga-project

RIYADH: NEOM’s first luxury island destination Sindalah will play host to superyachts and top-end apartments, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed as he announced the latest project set to boost Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.

Extending over an area of approximately 840,000sq. m., Sindalah is one of a group of islands that will be developed in the giga-project, and is expected to create 3,500 jobs for the tourism sector and hospitality and leisure services.

The island will act as a main gateway to the Red Sea, offering bespoke nautical experiences and is expected to start welcoming guests from early 2024, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The Crown Prince said: “This is another significant moment for NEOM and a major step in the Kingdom realizing its tourism ambitions under Vision 2030. 

“Sindalah will be NEOM’s first luxury island and yacht club destination in the Red Sea, providing a scenic gateway to the Red Sea that will become the region’s most exciting and attractive tourism location. 

“It will be a destination where travelers can experience the true beauty of NEOM and Saudi Arabia, above and below the water, making Sindalah the future of luxury travel.”

 

Speaking to Arab News, Chris Newman, executive director of hotel development at NEOM, set out the range of events and activites that the island will see once it has opened.

"Sindalah expects to host sophisticated cultural events, grand sporting spectacles and glamorous social celebrations throughout the year," he said, adding "There will be a year-round calendar of imaginative experiences, curated across various seasons."

These will include a social season from December to February which will offer guests access to exclusive music concerts, art and culture events, hosted in inspiring creative venues.

The 'Glamour season' will run from March to May, and then from October and November, and will coinciding with the peak yachting event season. gGuests will enjoy exclusive access to concerts, fashion and culinary festivals as part of the glamour season.

The active season from June to September will offer guests a range of family-friendly beach and recreational activities.

"Sindalah is one of many islands in NEOM. There are additional islands in development, and we will make the announcements in due course as more information becomes available," Newman added/

Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the chairman of NEOM’s Board of Directors, said the launch of Sindalah is a major step in realizing the Kingdom’s tourism ambitions, in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.

Sindalah will have an 86-berth marina, as well as hosting 413 ultra-premium hotel rooms, in addition to 333 top-end serviced apartments. 

Other attractions in Sindalah include a luxe beach club, yacht club and 38 unique culinary offerings that will provide an incomparable experience in the Red Sea.

Sindalah is also expected to become a popular golfing destination by offering enthusiasts the opportunity to experience a world-class 6,474-yard (5,920 meters) par 70 course. With its 18 tees, the Sindalah golf course will deliver two unique nine-hole experiences.

NEOM, the $500 billion smart city, is one of the most important projects supporting Saudi Arabia’s national tourism strategy, as the Kingdom steadily diversifies its economy which was heavily dependent on oil for decades. 

In November, speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM said that the hanging stadiums in the smart city will make tourists reimagine and visualize the future. 

“In The Line, we want people to come and see how sports stadiums are built, and where they are built. The sports stadiums in NEOM are 300 meter high, loose and hanging in the air,” said Al-Nasr.

He also added that OXAGON, the industrial city in NEOM also has all the potential to become a world-class tourist destination, where visitors can come and see how the future will be.

“It is in OXAGON where all industries will be, and it is the port of NEOM. Yet, we would like to see tourists spending a day or two in OXAGON. They will see the future of industries in OXAGON. Everything in NEOM is built for the future era. We want them to come and see how future sea ports will operate,” he added.


Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report

Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report
Updated 08 February 2023

Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report

Asia set to use half of world’s electricity by 2025: IEA report

BERLIN: Asia will for the first time use half of the world’s electricity by 2025, even as Africa continues to consume far less than its share of the global population, according to a new forecast released on Wednesday by the International Energy Agency.
Much of Asia’s electricity use will be in China, a nation of 1.4 billion people whose share of global consumption will rise from a quarter in 2015 to a third by the middle of this decade, the Paris-based body said.
“China will be consuming more electricity than the European Union, United States and India combined,” said Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA’s director of energy markets and security.
By contrast, Africa — home to almost a fifth of world’s nearly 8 billion inhabitants — will account for just 3 percent of global electricity consumption in 2025.
“This and the rapidly growing population mean there is still a massive need for increased electrification in Africa,” said Sadamori.
The IEA’s annual report predicts that nuclear power and renewables such as wind and solar will account for much of the growth in global electricity supply over the coming three years. This will prevent a significant rise in greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, it said.
Scientists say sharp cuts in all sources of emissions are needed as soon as possible to keep average global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That target, laid down in the 2015 Paris climate accord, appears increasingly doubtful as temperatures have already increased by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the reference period.
One hope for meeting the goal is a wholesale shift away from fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil toward low-carbon sources of energy. But while some regions are reducing their use of coal and gas for electricity production, in others consumption is increasing, the IEA said.
The 134-page also report warned that electricity demand and supply are becoming increasingly weather dependent, a problem it urged policymakers to address.
“In addition to drought in Europe, there were heat waves in India (last year),” said Sadamori. “Similarly, central and eastern China were hit by heat waves and drought. The US also saw severe winter storms in December, and all those events put massive strain on the power systems of these regions.”
“As the clean energy transition gathers pace, the impact of weather events on electricity demand will intensify due to the increased electrification of heating, while the share of weather-dependent renewables will continue to grow in the generation mix,” the IEA said. “In such a world, increasing the flexibility of power systems while ensuring security of supply and resilience of networks will be crucial."


Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive

Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive
Updated 08 February 2023

Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive

Kenya’s integrated tax system helped raise number of active taxpayers by 5.8m, says revenue authority executive

RIYADH: Kenya’s integrated tax system, also referred to as the “itax”, has helped raise the number of active taxpayers in the country by 5.8 million to hit 7.4 million in 2022, according to Mohamed Omar, the commissioner for strategy, innovation and risk management at the Kenya Revenue Authority.

 Speaking during a panel discussion on the first day of the Zakat, Customs, and Tax conference in Riyadh, Omar highlighted the significant impact of digitizing the tax system.

“The itax had an impact and we saw shifts in numbers. So, around 2014 there were 1.6 million active taxpayers, these were people who do regular returns and regular payments, the number in 2022 was 7.4 million, so that’s about more than four times,” he revealed.

He went on to explain that, as a result of digitizing the tax system, the growth in revenue was more than the nominal growth in the gross domestic product.

In addition to this, the filing system has also seen significant improvement.

“By 2017, 100 percent filing and payment was being done online; that was not happening before,” he stressed.

George Betselis, governor of the Independent Authority of Public Revenues in Greece, also spoke about the digitization of the tax system with a special focus on the COVID-19 pandemic era.

“During the pandemic, we needed to find digital solutions for at least being able to receive front end and provide front-end digital services. Our tax offices were closed, so we had to accommodate requests,” he said.

 The Zakat, Tax, and Customs conference aims to tackle global experiences in the fields and discuss the future of digitizing those sectors as well as propelling trade and protecting national security.


SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk

SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk
Updated 08 February 2023

SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk

SNB Capital announces completion of $267m AT-1 sukuk

RIYADH: SNB Capital on Wednesday announced the completion of a private placement Additional Tier 1 perpetual sukuk worth SR1 billion ($267 million).

According to an official statement, the transaction was received with overwhelming demand from a diverse investor base having a bid cover ratio of 2.1 times. Investors included financial institutions, public sector, qualified individual investors, corporates, family offices, asset managers and insurance companies.

Commenting on the development, Ammar Alkhudairy, the chairman of SNBC, said: “This issuance by SNBC is a pioneering endeavor that compliments and supports SNB’s group vision of being the premier financial services group in the region that provides seamless banking and capital markets support to the Kingdom’s ambitious growth plans”

The issuance, which is non-call for five years, was priced a fixed annual coupon rate of 5.8 percent with quarterly payment until the first call date. 

Rashid Sharif, CEO of SNBC, said: “The issuance further strengthens our capital base to continue our journey supporting the development of the Saudi Capital Market guided by Vision 2030 strategic goals and objectives.”


Closing Bell: TASI arrests downward slide; closes up 38 points to 10,508 

Closing Bell: TASI arrests downward slide; closes up 38 points to 10,508 
Updated 08 February 2023

Closing Bell: TASI arrests downward slide; closes up 38 points to 10,508 

Closing Bell: TASI arrests downward slide; closes up 38 points to 10,508 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index gained 38.22 points — or 0.37 percent — on Wednesday to close at 10,507.72. 

While MSCI Tadawul 30 Index edged up 0.21 percent to 1,439.54, the parallel market Nomu closed 0.76 percent higher to 19,212.09. 

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR3.41 billion ($910 million), with 99 stocks of the listed 224 advancing and 100 receding. 

Saudi Public Transport Co. was the topmost gainer, soaring 6.56 percent to SR17.54.  

Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance Co. was the second-highest grosser, rising 3.82 percent to SR157.80. The company on Tuesday received Saudi Central Bank’s approval to renew its insurance activities license. The license is valid for three years, starting from March 26, 2023, the insurer informed Tadawul. 

The other top gainers were Alkhaleej Training and Education Co., Savola Group and Sahara International Petrochemical Co. All three stocks advanced within the 3-4 percent range. 

The worst-performing stock of the day was Banque Saudi Fransi, which dropped 4.63 percent to SR37.05. 

Other poor performers were Saudi British Bank, Al Alamiya for Cooperative Insurance Co., Riyad Bank and Amana Cooperative Insurance Co. 

Among sectoral indices, 13 of the 21 listed on the stock exchange declined; one remained flat while the rest advanced. 

On the announcements front, Elm Co.’s wholly owned subsidiary, Saudi Company for Electronic Information Exchange, inked a revenue-sharing agreement with Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority. 

The agreement’s value exceeds 5 percent of total revenue as per audited financial statements for 2021. The contract has no fixed value. Instead, it depends on the number of executed transactions, and the company receives a percentage of the fees of such transactions. 

The five-year agreement will provide customs electronic and operational services, starting from the issuance of the effective date certificate. Its share price fell 0.37 percent to SR375.60. 

Al Moammar Information Systems Co. and Mobile Telecommunication Co. Saudi Arabia, also known as Zain KSA, signed, on Feb. 7 a non-binding memorandum of understanding. 

The 12-month MoU will be renewed based on the two parties’ agreement, MIS said in a statement on Tadawul. 

As per the MoU, MIS and Zain KSA will explore potential opportunities for cooperation through the design, launch, and offering of certain products and services.  

MIS also signed another MoU with the Ministry of National Guard to support the digital transformation journey of the ministry by developing a data center strategy, information security, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in the enterprise space. MIS’s share price rose 1.94 percent to SR94.50. 


Integration of zakat, tax bodies with customs to be completed in Q1: ZATCA governor 

Integration of zakat, tax bodies with customs to be completed in Q1: ZATCA governor 
Updated 08 February 2023

Integration of zakat, tax bodies with customs to be completed in Q1: ZATCA governor 

Integration of zakat, tax bodies with customs to be completed in Q1: ZATCA governor 

RIYADH: The complete merger of the General Authority of Zakat and Tax with the General Authority of Customs will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023, revealed ZATCA Gov. Suhail Mohammed Abanmi.  

While speaking at a panel discussion at the Zakat, Tax and Customs Conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, Abanmi said that ZATCA faced so many challenges to integrate these bodies, but it is successfully completing the process as the authority carried out several studies to understand the possible hurdles that may come up in the journey.  

The integration between Zakat, Tax and Customs bodies was happening in phases, and the merging process is now in its final stages.  

It was in 2021 that the Saudi cabinet approved the decision to merge the General Authority of Zakat and Tax with the General Authority of Customs, to form an umbrella authority named Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to restructure government agencies to speed the implementation of the goals outlined in Vision 2030.  

“The decision to integrate tax and customs bodies was taken in 2021, and it will be completed by the first quarter of this year,” said Abanmi.  

He added: “The integration of tax and customs bodies is a huge remarkable achievement. We faced so many challenges. But we successfully overcome those hurdles by conducting a study. The study was well detailed, and we found solutions for these challenges.”  

During the panel discussion, Abanmi also outlined the benefits of integration and noted that these efforts will mutually benefit both the customers and the government.  

“As customers use the same channel after the integration of tax and customs, it will increase the efficiency of the operations and enhance the satisfaction levels of the users. By integrating the two bodies; tax and customs, we reduced the cost of operational expenses and capital costs, and this will help the government,” he said.  

Abanmi further noted that integrating zakat, tax and customs bodies will also enhance cybersecurity, and added that it will also help reduce risks and tax evasion.  

Talking about the feasibility study conducted before taking the merging decision, Abanmi noted: “The decision to integrate tax and customs bodies under a single umbrella was decided after a study. This study looked into several international studies and analyzed previous experiences of integration that happened in UK, Estonia, Portuguese, and South Africa.”