Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 digital drive shows ‘increased appetite’ for cloud-tech: ClearTax CEO

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 digital drive shows ‘increased appetite’ for cloud-tech: ClearTax CEO
Archit Gupta, CEO of ClearTax (Supplied)
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Updated 17 February 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 digital drive shows ‘increased appetite’ for cloud-tech: ClearTax CEO

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 digital drive shows ‘increased appetite’ for cloud-tech: ClearTax CEO

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s “laser focus” on using cloud-based technology to boost its economy has prompted global financial services technology enterprise ClearTax to expand its operations in the Kingdom, according to the company’s CEO.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Archit Gupta praised the Saudi government’s “increased appetite” for such products, and said the rollout in the Kingdom was part of the company’s plans to invest up to $20 million into the region over the next three years.

As a technology solutions provider compliant with the guidelines of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority of Saudi Arabia for the first phase of e-invoicing, ClearTax has built a strong footprint in the Kingdom following the launch of its cloud-based electronic invoicing solution for medium to large enterprises in 2021.

Gupta said: “We recognised the vast market potential in the Kingdom as government mandates were to be rolled out in line with the laser focus KSA is demonstrating when it comes to using cloud-based technology to digitalise the economy and promote robust economic growth under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

“We now have over 200 customers across multiple industries fully onboarded and are now focussed on providing further cloud-based offerings and expanding our customer base, as all VAT-registered businesses seek to adopt new ‘digital by default’ practices.”

Gupta went on to explain that ClearTax has already established partnerships with customers in a range of sectors in Saudi Arabia, including retail, manufacturing, energy, construction, financial services, and technology. 

He added: “The ‘cloud first policy’ of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology – the framework built to guide public and private sector companies in cloud-led transformations – demonstrates the commitment the Saudi government has shown in moving towards a paperless, digital environment. 

“Positive implications of this include increased efficiency, improved trade transparency and clearer visibility in fraud detection.  

“As one of the world’s fastest-growing B2B SaaS companies, we are expanding our operations in Saudi Arabia as we expect to see an increased appetite for cloud-based solutions, with a breadth of digital and cloud-based products that support the digital transformation vision of the Kingdom.”

According to US-based technological research and consulting firm Gartner, 95 percent of new digital workloads are expected to be deployed on cloud-native platforms in the next two years. 

ClearTax plans to introduce a suite of products to help over 1.5 million VAT-registered businesses across the Gulf Cooperation Council region adopt digital initiatives. 

“As the scale of digitization increases, businesses will need to rapidly adopt digital solutions for more use cases like faster cash collections, automated bank reconciliations, efficient vendor management,  credit availability, and optimizing working capital,” said Gupta.

While cloud-based technology is on the rise across the globe, so too are concerns around cyber-security. In December, IT security company Kaspersky revealed that a third of computer users in Saudi Arabia were targeted by cyber criminals in 2022.

This prompted the company’s CEO Eugene Kaspersky to tell Arab News that governments should introduce regulations for cybersecurity systems and require businesses to adhere to the related guidelines in the same way they do for fire hazards regulations.

Gupta insisted that ClearTax takes cybersecurity “very seriously”, and added: “ClearTax cloud platform is hosted inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and complies with the data residency requirements by the government.”

Cleartax was showcasing at the Zakat Tax and Customs Conference 2023 on Feb. 8 to 9, which was organized by ZATCA at the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, and held under the patronage of Minister of Finance and ZATCA chairman Mohamed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan.

Saudi Arabia’s factory sector sees 50% growth since Vision 2030’s launch: Deputy minister

Saudi Arabia’s factory sector sees 50% growth since Vision 2030’s launch: Deputy minister
Updated 18 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s factory sector sees 50% growth since Vision 2030’s launch: Deputy minister

Saudi Arabia’s factory sector sees 50% growth since Vision 2030’s launch: Deputy minister

RIYADH: The number of factories in Saudi Arabia has increased 50 percent since the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, according to the Deputy Minister of Industry and Mineral resources Osama bin Abdulaziz Al-Zamil.

His comments come after figures released last year showed there are now more than 10,000 industrial facilities in the Kingdom, with 1,023 factories starting operations in 2022 alone.

Speaking during the first day of the annual Saudi Industrial Renaissance Forum that took place in the Kingdom’s Al-Yamamah University, Al-Zamil affirmed reliance on the industrial and mining sectors as economic tributaries.

The deputy minister also use his speech at the event to praise the growing Saudi workforce, saying: “The bet today on our young men and women is a big and winning bet as they are the largest percentage in this country, which makes them the basic base for our transformation and change in all fields and their exceptional capabilities and permanent ambition for positive change constitute a great force for the success of the Kingdom’s vision programs and contribute to the development of the homeland.”

The Saudi Industrial Renaissance Forum focused on the vital role that the industry plays in developing and diversifying the national economy which also contributes to achieving the economic and social goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

“The forum brings together a group of speakers, experts and interested persons with specialization in lectures, discussion sessions, working papers sessions and refereed research papers on many topics, and witnesses a number of important sessions,” said Hussam bin Muhammad Ramadan, Al-Yamamah University president and chairman of the organizing committee. 

Paddy Padmanathan steps down as ACWA Power CEO after 18 years

Paddy Padmanathan steps down as ACWA Power CEO after 18 years
Updated 7 min 33 sec ago

Paddy Padmanathan steps down as ACWA Power CEO after 18 years

Paddy Padmanathan steps down as ACWA Power CEO after 18 years

RIYADH: ACWA Power’s CEO Suntharesan 'Paddy' Padmanathan resigned on Monday, reported the Saudi Stock Exchange.

The board accepted Padmanathan’s resignation, and welcomed Marco Arcelli, an energy leader with over 30 years of experience, as the new CEO, revealed ACWA Power.    

Arcelli was previously chairman at Europe’s seventh largest electricity producer Ep New Energy, and had worked at Enel for 16 years where he was CEO of Enel North America and Slovenske Elektrarne.   

ACWA Power assured that Padmanathan will remain in the company serving as a member of the board of directors.   

In a statement, the company thanked the resigning CEO for his 18 years of service, and “his dedication during that period to elevate the company’s status as a leading global company in the field of renewable power generation, water desalination and green hydrogen production which culminated by its successful listing as a public company.”  

ACWA Power is Saudi Arabia’s leading utility service provider with a net profit of SR1.5 billion ($411 million) in 2022, according to a bourse filing. The company reported 103 percent increase in its profits from the previous year.   

In 2021, the Public Investment Fund-backed firm reported a net profit of SR758.8 million.   

The bourse filing further noted that the company’s fourth quarter net profit after zakat and tax surged 94 percent to SR656.6 million, compared to SR338.85 million in the previous year. 

According to the bourse statement, the firm’s financial results in 2022 were backed by higher operating income before impairment and other expenses.   

The profits were also driven by higher contributions from development and construction management services for the projects which achieved financial close last year, adequately supported by lower project development costs.   

Closing bell: TASI rises 60 points 

Closing bell: TASI rises 60 points 
Updated 30 min 18 sec ago

Closing bell: TASI rises 60 points 

Closing bell: TASI rises 60 points 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index increased 60.39 points on Monday – or 0.59 percent – to close at 10,218.12.

MSCI Tadawul 30 Index inched up 0.69 percent to 1,386.65, and the parallel market, Nomu, slightly edged down by 0.05 percent closing at 18,968.30.   

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR4.56 billion ($1.21 billion) as 111 stocks of the listed 224 advanced and 95 receded.    

Themar Development Holding Co. was the top gainer of the day, closing the trading session up 9.91 percent at SR44.35 

The second-best performer was Alima Tokio Marine Co., increasing 9.70 percent to SR14.48.   

Elm was the third-best performer, rising 7.67 percent - or 31 points – to SR435, compared to its opening at SR404. 

Other top performers of the day were Dar Alarkan Real Estate Development Co., and Makkah Construction and Development Co. 

The biggest faller of the day was BinDawood Holding Co., which slipped by 2.96 percent to SR52.5.  

Nahdi Medical Co. is the next worst performer of the day, decreasing by 2.48 percent to SR181. 

The other poor performers were Gulf Insurance Group, Alinma Hospitality REIT Fund, and Jabal Omar Development Co. 

Non-institutional foreign investors, excluding Saudi Aramco, reduced their stake in Tadawul-listed stocks to 10.45 percent, or SR281.79 billion, which is represented by swap holders, residents, and qualified foreign investors. 

On an announcement front, Saudi National Bank's share price increased by 3.86 percent, closing at SR44.4. The bank also said in a statement that the changes in the valuation of SNB’s investment in Credit Suisse have no impact on SNB’s growth plans. 

Rawasi Albina Investment Co. announced its annual financial results for 2022, reporting a 19.54 percent increase in its net profit to SR20.8 million. Moreover, Rawasi’s share price climbed 11.98 percent, closing at SR80. 

Perfect Presentation for Commercial Services Co. also announced a tremendous increase in net profit by 63.06 percent to SR131.4 million. The company’s shares closed 3.55 up at SR175. 

CHUBB Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co. reported a 12.54 percent decrease in net profit to almost SR13.4 million compared to SR15.3 million in 2021. CHUBB’s share price decreased 0.24 percent to close at SR16.48. 

The company correlated the decline to an increase in General and Administrative Expenses an increase in Policy Acquisition Costs in higher drilling utilization and an increase in daily rate, notably in the offshore segment   

Dallah Healthcare Co. reported a net profit of SR274 billion, up 6.13 percent compared to 2021. Dallah attributed the increase to a revenue increase of 18.18 percent in 2022 to SR2.4 billion. The healthcare company’s share price slightly decreased by 0.56 percent, closing at SR141.6. 

Saudi Reinsurance Co. also announced its financial results for 2022 and reported a net loss of SR1.6 million, down 58.1 percent compared to almost SR4 million in 2021. However, its share price increased by 1.66 percent to SR14.7 per share. 

Aramco, DHL form new procurement and logistics hub JV

Aramco, DHL form new procurement and logistics hub JV
Updated 34 min 52 sec ago

Aramco, DHL form new procurement and logistics hub JV

Aramco, DHL form new procurement and logistics hub JV

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Oil Co., also known as Saudi Aramco, announced a new end-to-end procurement and logistics hub joint venture with logistics firm DHL Supply Chain. 

Expected to be operational in 2025, the JV aims to initially focus on the Saudi market, with plans to expand across the Middle East and North Africa region.  

The new venture aims to provide top-notch integrated procurement and logistics services to further enhance supply chain efficiency as well as sustainability in the region, the company said in a press release.   

The JV, which the company said is the first-of-its-kind hub, will provide reliable and sturdy end-to-end services to customers within the industrial, energy, chemical, and petrochemical sectors.  

“This partnership brings together two industry leaders, each with long and storied histories,” said Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser.  

By combining the exceptional energy, chemicals and industrial supply chain ecosystem of Aramco with the shipping and logistics expertise of DHL, he said they aim to enable the procurement and logistics hub joint venture to serve as a one-stop hub for customers’ supply chain needs.  

“We anticipate that it will not only advance the economic goals of our two companies but also accelerate growth across Saudi Arabia and the MENA region,” the CEO emphasized.   

DHL Supply Chain CEO Oscar de Bok added: “By working in partnership with Aramco, we aim to provide regional and multinational businesses from these sectors access to a robust international logistics network, fostering positive economic growth while promoting sustainable activities.”  

NEOM ranks first in Forbes’ top 10 future Saudi companies

NEOM ranks first in Forbes’ top 10 future Saudi companies
Updated 43 min 6 sec ago

NEOM ranks first in Forbes’ top 10 future Saudi companies

NEOM ranks first in Forbes’ top 10 future Saudi companies

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion signature giga-project NEOM has claimed the top position in Forbes’ new list of Top 10 Economies of the Future Companies in Saudi Arabia. 

NEOM is part of 40 firms that are divided into four categories by Forbes to highlight the Kingdom’s most progressive firms.  

Prepared in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Research, Development, and Innovation Authority, the report includes the 10 most innovative companies in Saudi Arabia, with NEOM claiming the third position in this category.  

The report noted that the city relies heavily on 5G hyperconnectivity, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, purpose-built data centers, big data analytics, augmented virtual reality, and automated guided vehicles within its mega projects: Trojena, Oxagon, and THE LINE. 

It added that the Saudi crown prince has invested $1 billion in AI, including a metaverse platform in 2022, through NEOM Tech & Digital Co. 

“The Saudi Arabian government — with the support of major telecom and large industrial companies — has been developing the country’s innovation ecosystem, and these efforts are starting to show results,” said Forbes.    

The Saudi Telecom Co., also known as stc, was revealed as the Kingdom’s second Economy of the Future Co., whereas Al Rajhi Bank came in third.   

The Saudi Arabian Oil Co., also known as Saudi Aramco, led the way as the most innovative company as well as the top energy and industrial leadership company, according to the Forbes report.   

With 70 percent of its shares owned by Aramco, the Saudi chemical manufacturing company SABIC came in second in innovation and energy and industrial leadership in 2022.   

"Saudi Arabia is on the way to becoming a global innovation powerhouse, it has all the ingredients in place: World-class infrastructure, a young, educated workforce, large companies with big pockets, and supportive leadership,” added Forbes.