Ministerial panel set up to tackle commercial fraud

Saudi Arabia is tightening up the business licensing process. It has also mandated banks to report on accounts that carry funds disproportionate to known sources of income. — File photo

A ministerial committee established to oversee the national program to combat commercial cover-up (tasattur) and to propose solutions and initiatives to eliminate the practice.

The committee will take aim at activities such as foreign nationals owning businesses in the Kingdom. While using the names of Saudi citizens, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Monday.

There will be a kind of advanced levels of coordination among authorities issuing business licenses and manpower visas.

The committee shall also supervise the implementation of initiatives and develop indicators to measure the performance of all concerned authorities. While following up on compliance with the implementation of recommendations issued in this regard.

The order affirmed that the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority shall undertake the task of building an index to measure the percentage of suspected cases of commercial cover-up, and updating it periodically according to the data received from concerned authorities.

Updated municipal requirements

It also stipulated that the ministries of commerce, human resources and social development, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA); the General Authority for Zakat and Income, and any other agency designated by the supervisory committee, shall undertake the tasks of providing the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence with the necessary data for the indicator for measuring suspected cases of cover-up on a quarterly basis.

The order directed the ministry of municipal and rural affairs to develop a plan to oblige all grocery stores and supplies with the updated municipal requirements for grocery and supplies stores sector in order to ensure their implementation within the specified time frame, and to prepare an indicator to measure the sector’s adherence to the requirements and submit what the ministry takes in this regard to the Council of Economic and Development Affairs during 60 days.

Chaired by the minister of trade, the committee also includes ministers of transport and environment, water and agriculture; and the president of the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence.

The national program for fighting commercial cover-up was established to address commercial cover-up in all sectors and stimulate e-commerce and use of technological solutions.

The program also continues to organize financial transactions to reduce the exit of funds; promote private sector growth; create a competitive environment that attracts Saudis and encourages them to invest. In addition to find solutions to the problem of foreigners’ illegal ownership in the private sector.

Monitoring expatriates’ accounts

Earlier, all banks monitored accounts of expatriate workers who have deposits disproportionate to their known sources of income.

According to instructions from SAMA; all banks have to inform the ministry of commerce and industry about deposits not commensurate with salaries; and other sources of income of account holders.

All business owners will present Saudization certificates from the ministry of labor before to renew their licenses. The ministries of interior and labor will continue to work toward Saudization of business activity; with good returns and thus be able to attract the citizens.