SAUDI ARABIA TO REDUCE VISA FEES FOR PAKISTANIS
Saudi Arabia has agreed to relax visa procedures, reduce fees for Pakistani nationals and to set up a training institute in Pakistan in order to export Pakistani manpower to help and meet its skilled human resource requirements.
A Saudi delegation team from Ministry of Commerce and Investment discussed it with Pakistani Prime Minister on a call, according to the press release of office media.
- Export of Halal food from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.
- Saudi Investment in construction of South-North Gas pipeline.
- Training Institute in Pakistan to help meet Kingdom's skilled human resource requirements.
- Bilateral Investment treaty and exchange of parliamentary delegations.
- Pakistan-Saudi JMC moot agreed on activating of Saudi-Pakistan Business Council to promote trade and investment on fast track basis while Pak-Saudi bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement(PTA) also came under consideration.
- Possibility of enhancing import of petroleum from the Kingdom and offering investment for Saudi companies in Renewable Energy and Independent Power Procedures(IPPs) is also part of the agenda.
MADINAH EXPERIENCED A 2.5 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE ON 16 JAN 2018
Saudi Arabia's Holy city Madinah experienced a 2.5 magnitude earthquake on Today (16th Jan 2018).
There were no reports of any damages from the earthquake confirmed City officials, The earthquake was at a depth of 7km below the surface and 14km north west of Madinah.
- This is not the first time for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Earlier also small tremors occurred with no damage at all as it was weak and not dangerous.
- According to the local newspaper, General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection said the tremor was weak and it is not dangerous.
SAUDI ARABIA HAS INCREASED HAJJ QUOTA FOR INDIAN PILGRIMS
Saudi Arabia has increased Hajj quota for Indians by 5000 pilgrims after the India's Union Minister Abbas Naqvi's request, The Haj quota for Indian pilgrims is now 1,75,025.
Earlier this year, the Hajj quota for Indian origin pilgrims was 1,70,025. The decision of Saudi Arabia came after a bilateral annual agreement of India for Hajj 2018.
- According to the Indian Minister, The quota was increased by 40,000 nearly in the last two years and it never happened since 1947. For the year 2018 Hajj, Indian received nearly 3.55 lakh applications till now.
- From the 3.55 lakh Indians, Indian Hajj committee will finalize the names of 1.75 lakh who will be applicable for the Hajj this year through a lucky draw.
- However 1300 Indian women who applied for Hajj 2018 without a mahram (Male guardian) is directly eligible with out an lucky draw.
- Saudi Arabia also agreed to revive the decision of receiving Indian Hajj pilgrims through Sea, which was closed long years ago due to long journey between India and Saudi Arabia.
A CYCLIST FINED 3000 SAUDI RIYALS FOR CROSSING RED LIGHT
A cyclist in Saudi Arabia was fined with 3000 Saudi Riyals for jumping red light signal in Al Rass, northwest of the capital city Riyadh.
Social media users expressed their anger for penalizing a cyclist, whose bicycle is worth about 200 Saudi Riyals and he need to pay a fine of 3000 SR for crossing red light signal.
- According to the local news Ajel, Traffic source confirmed the fine and explained the amount is same as it is applicable to any other vehicle for jumping red signal.
- One of social media user expressed his feeling by saying the fined amount is almost the 3 months salary of the cyclist, he fully support traffic regulations, but he objected the fined amount.
- While another social media user said how the traffic authorities will enter the cyclist fine in the computer system as the bicycle do not have any license or plate number.
- In support of traffic some users said, Crossing red light is always dangerous it could harm him or any others life, Rule of law should always prevail.
- Some countries will fine even pedestrian walker for not following the rule to ensure the safety, rule is rule for everyone, whether the violator is driving, riding or walking.
10% TAX ON EXPAT SALARIES ABOVE 3000 RIYALS IS A FAKE NEWS
Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labor and Social Development denied the rumors of social media and Whatsapp messages regarding 10 percent tax on the expatriate workers salary.
According to the spreading rumors of social media and Whatsapp messages, Expats whose monthly salaries are above 3000 Saudi Riyals should pay 10% levy tax.
- Labor Ministry's official spokesperson said those all allegations spreading online are not true and there is no reality in those messages.
- The rumor claimed that Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Finance and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority(SAMA) jointly imposing tax on expat salaries, there is no turth in this message.
- The same rumor message also claimed that 60 job titles recruitment and work permit issuance has been stopped and it is limited to Saudis only. As per the official only 19 job professions are reserved for Saudis till now.
- This is not the first time Expats became the victims of online rumors and fake news, Some people spread rumors just to seek attention online.
SAUDI ARABIA IS READY TO WELCOME WOMEN AUDIENCES IN SPORTS STADIUMS
For the first time in its history, Saudi Arabia opened its doors for women audiences to attend football matches and other sports events in stadiums of the Kingdom.
Stadiums of Saudi are fully ready to welcome women with all the facilities of prayer rooms, power air conditioners, restrooms, toilets and special smoking rooms for women audiences.
- The first match where women are allowed to watch is the football match between Al Ahli and Al Batin in Riyadh on January 12th, as per the Ministry of Information statement.
- The second and third matches in Jeddah and Dammam, where women are allowed is on the following day and on January 18th, Women from all over the Kingdom can attend these matches and can able to take advantages of new freedom.
- For now the stadiums of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam are ready to accommodate women, later on more stadium will add on the list of accommodating women to watch sports events.
- Riyadh's King Fahad Stadium will accommodate 7000 women, The fifth floor of the Jeddah's Al Jawhara Stadium is reserved for women with 10,000 seats.
- Women will enter through separate gates and will supervised by women only. Later on there will be separate teams of women players in ordere to encourage them into participate in various competitions.
SAUDI TELECOM SERVICE PROVIDERS INCREASED INTERNET PACKAGE PRICES
STC and Mobily telecom operators in Saudi Arabia have increased the cost of internet data packs by 50 percent, Last week customers see a halt in sales of data cards.
The halt in sales of internet packages are because it was in preparation of increasing the cost prices, The effect was especially for 300 GB and 600 GB cards.
- According to Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), It does not supported or legally permitted any such packages to telecom operators.
- Telecom service providers can reflect the market with the support of other companies, They can increase the prices as they wished at any time.
- Ministry of Communications and Information Technology should intervene in order to protect consumers from the greedy telecom operators.
- General Authority for Competition will take necessary steps to ensure for fair competition in the market and confront the monopoly of a small group of companies who increases the prices.
JAWAZAT TWEETS ON SELF EMPLOYED EXPATRIATES
In a recent tweet from Saudi Jawazat on a campaign "A nation with out illegal expatriates", General Passport Office states self employed expatriates will be penalize following imprisonment and then they will deport from the Kingdom.
The tweet from Jawazat as follows,
The self-employed expatriate is subject to the following penalties:
1 - A fine of up to 50,000 Riyals
2 - Imprisonment for up to six months
3 - Deportation
SAUDI ARABIA TO REFUND PAID VAT TO VISITORS, TOURISTS & PILGRIMS
Saudi Arabia is working on a mechanism to refund Value Added Tax (VAT) to tourists and Hajj & Umrah visitors, As this mechanism is still in process it will not applicable in the first few months of 2018.
The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) is responsible for VAT implementation, administration and management, So they are also preparing a way to payout the paid VAT to the Hajj & Umrah pilgrims, Tourists and Non GCC Visitors.
- GAZT (General Authority of Zakat & Tax) may open VAT reimbursement offices at many places of Saudi Arabia including at Saudi Airports and at the borders of other countries in the Kingdom.
- For VAT reimbursement to pilgrims, tourists and visitors need to submit application to the list of service providers for their reimbursement.
- Visitors and Tourists from GCC countries will not get any reimbursement on the paid Value Added Tax (VAT), Similarly, Expats of GCC countries are also not applicable to get VAT reimbursement.
- More than 83,000 companies have registered for VAT System in Saudi Arabia till now, Companies which are not yet registered for VAT system will be fined.
- Saudi Arabia and UAE are committed to impose VAT from Jan 1st 2018, While Bahrain and Qatar is planning to implement VAT from mid of 2018, Kuwait and Oman are expected to delay till 2019.
SAUDI ARABIA ADDED HI-TECH CAMERAS TO ITS TRAFFIC POLICE VEHICLES
Saudi traffic police vehicles have been fitted with hi tech cameras in order to capture traffic violations of violators automatically.
As part of improved technology, Saudi Traffic General Directorate director Brigadier Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Basami launched the new equipment to clamp down the traffic and driving offences.
- These new Hi-Tech automated cameras will be fitted in all the traffic police vehicles all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to reduce road accidents.
- As per various statistics reports, 30% of the hospital beds in Saudi Arabia are occupied by the people who injured in accidents.
- The new camera which is fitted in Traffic police cars will capture the violations like Over Speeding, Wrong Overtaking and reckless change of lanes, It will also capture mobile using violations while driving and non use of safety belts.
MORE THAN 340,000 EXPATRIATES ARRESTED IN SAUDI ARABIA WITH IN 1 MONTH FEW DAYS
With in 7 weeks of time more than 340,000 expatriates have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in the ongoing crackdown against the violators of labor regulations and residence permits.
- Saudi security authorities crackdown on illegals and violators started from November 15th, 2017 in the ongoing campaign of 'Nation without illegal expats'.
- According to Saudi Press Agency report, More than 200,000 were arrested for violating residency laws while nearly 100,000 arrested for violating Saudi labor laws and nearly 50,000 were arrested for breaching security regulations till January 5th 2018.
- 75 percent of the Yemenis are arrested for crossing and sneaking border illegally from Southern part of Saudi Arabia, 23% in the arrested people are Ethiopians.
- 533 people arrested for providing transportation and shelter to the illegal expats. 37,230 expats cases transferred to their diplomatic missions for allowing them to issue travel documents while 41,326 are still awaiting for the reservation of their air tickets for deportation.
- 64,092 expat violators are already deported from Saudi Arabia to their countries in these ongoing campaign and in 5 weeks of time.
SAUDI ARABIA'S AUTHORITIES ARRESTED A MAN FOR SUPPORTING MISSILE ATTACK IN RIYADH
Saudi Arabia's prosecution office has issued an order to arrest an Arab expatriate living in the Kingdom, who posted a tweet congratulating houthi missile attack on Riyadh this week.
The arrest order of the expat came just after the day of tweet he posted, Public prosecution affirm that whoever is tempted or commit aggression against Saudi society, or breach people's rights or harm others.
- Public prosecution office will monitor all violations pursue in social media or anywhere, In order to protect nation from the evil eyes.
- People who post their aggression do not aware the seriousness and danger of their actions said in a statement to Saudi Press Agency.
- Saudi Arabia's authorities warned all the expatriates and citizens for violating any rules and regulations that threat national security.
SAUDI SET RULES & REGULATIONS ON TAXIS, CABS
Public Transport Authority(PTA)has announced they will start imposing fines on Taxis, private cabs and ride sharing services drivers for not considering the safety and readiness of vehicles and on violating the rules and regulations.
PTA Inspector said the penalties will be imposed on drivers who violates rules and regulations that are made for the safety of drivers and riders.
- The penalty for not installing meter in the cabs is 5000 Saudi Riyals, A fine of 500 Saudi Riyals will be imposed on taxi or cab drivers for not wearing uniform, A fine of 500 Saudi Riyals will be imposed on drivers if their cars are unclean and looks dirty from inside or outside.
- The Taxis should mention clear signs on top like "Taxi Riyadh", "Taxi Jeddah", "Taxi Dammam", "Taxi Makkah", etc,. If the sign boards are unclear there will be a fine of 1000 Saudi Riyals on the vehicle drivers.
- A penalty of 1000 Saudi Riyals will be imposed on the driver if his vehicle front seat or back seat company information is not available.
- A fine of 500 Saudi Riyals on taxi drivers if they do not have first aid kid or fire extinguisher or hazard triangle, making 1500 Saudi Riyals fine on these three accessories.
- Expat taxi drivers without proper license will face a penalty of 5000 Saudi Riyals, Pick up service seekers should make sure that they will get Saudi drivers through private internet cabs. Private cabs should make sure they have only Saudi national drivers.