Mon. Sep 25th, 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s residents can travel to Gulf Cooperation Council countries using their national electronic identification provided that they comply with two conditions, a statement by the General Directorate of Passports known as Jawazat clarified.  
To be able to travel with their digital ID to GCC countries, Saudi inhabitants are required to obtain a visa as well as a travel document.   
In addition, residents must adhere to the conditions and requirements set by the country to which they are traveling, the Jawazat statement said.   
The Kingdom has recently followed a series of steps that facilitate travel requisites to further promote easy travel across the region.    
Saudi Arabia in May lifted a two-year suspension, implemented at the peak of the pandemic, on using national ID cards for travel to and from Saudi Arabia for all GCC citizens.  
The Gulf region dominates Saudi tourism as the primary destination for its residents, according to data from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.  
Almost 3.9 million trips were made by Saudi residents to GCC countries in 2021, making up 46.2 percent of aggregate outbound tourism in the Kingdom.    
In an October report, the World Tourism Organization listed Saudi Arabia as top of the G20 countries for the flow rating of international tourists in the first seven months of 2022. 
The report, released during the G20 tourism ministers’ meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, did not detail the exact number of travelers who visited the Kingdom, but claimed the sector saw a growth rate of 121 percent in the first half of 2022. 
During the event Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the surge in tourist inflow aligns with the Kingdom’s economic diversification policies and aims to increase tourism’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, as outlined in Vision 2030, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 
Calling Saudi Arabia one of the fastest-growing markets for tourism, Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom’s tourism sector is accelerating at a rate of 14 percent compared to the pre-coronavirus pandemic period. 
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 450,000 tourist visas were issued, since the Kingdom’s Tourism Authority launched the tourist visa program in 2019, by targeting 49 countries in the initial stage, and facilitated access to tourist visas electronically or through entry points to the Kingdom within specific regulatory controls. 
CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Wednesday reviewed measures to boost investment opportunities in various economic sectors and stressed the need for concerted efforts to create an environment conducive to investments and friendly for foreign investors.
He described boosting domestic and foreign investments top priority of the government. The prime minister chaired a meeting attended by various ministers of the Cabinet to discuss preparations for the upcoming investment promotion conference in the North African country, said Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad.
Major international institutions, investment banks, representatives of international companies, and business leaders are scheduled to be invited to the business event.
Saad said the meeting focused on the mechanisms for the implementation of a policy recently approved by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. It lays emphasis on increasing the private sector’s role in the economic development of the country.
The meeting also discussed the global and regional developments that are affecting the world economies. The ministers also highlighted the issues the North African country is currently facing due to geopolitical tensions such as the Ukraine war, fluctuating oil prices, and the declining value of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar.
Egypt’s economy was hit hard after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February unsettled global investors and led them to pull billions out of the North African country.
The war sent wheat prices spiraling, heavily impacting Egypt, one of the world’s largest grain importers, and piling pressure on its foreign currency reserves.
With costs driven up further by soaring global energy prices, official inflation topped 18 percent in November, while billions of dollars worth of imported goods remain locked in Egypt’s ports.
As the foreign currency crunch continues, the Egyptian pound has plummeted, losing 70 percent of its value over 10 months.
The most recent dip — just over 8 percent — came Wednesday, the same day experts rang alarm bells when two state-owned banks announced one-year saving certificates with a whopping 25 percent interest rate.
Egyptian Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Moselhi faced harsh criticism from parliamentarians.
The minister told the meeting the prices of commodities will go down within two months. He said more than 60 percent of the country’s food items are imported and prices are going up due to an increase in the prices of imported raw materials.
He said his ministry was preparing a new law to regulate random markets and control prices.
RIYADH: Qatar Financial Center’s latest Purchasing Managers Index survey reveals rapid growth in business activity in December and November due to the FIFA World Cup.
Wholesale, retail, and service providers in Qatar registered huge expansion activity driving a record overall increase in prices charged for goods and services.
Qatar’s PMI is a composite single-figure indicator of non-energy private sector performance that is derived from new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times, and stock of purchases.
The PMI rose for the second month running from 48.8 in November to 49.6 in December pointing to a near-stabilization in overall non-energy private sector business conditions at the end of 2022.
Non-oil private sector output rose for the thirtieth consecutive month in December. 
The rate of growth was little-changed since November and is well above the long-run survey average.
The output index in November was 62.8 which was countered by a construction-driven pause in new work and improving supply chains.
The index trended at 69.0 throughout the entire year which represented the highest figure in the survey’s history compared to a long-run trend of 54.8.
“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 makes its mark on the Qatari economy in December, with another rapid increase in business activity fueled by the retail and services sectors. The December data round off a stellar 2022 with the Output Index and headline PMI trending at 69.0 and 57.7 respectively, the highest annual averages since the survey began in 2017,” Yousuf Al-Jaida, CEO at QFC Authority, said in a statement.
The financial services sector also recorded a massive increase in business activity in the last month of 2022 demonstrating the strongest growth in the near-six-year period.
Input prices paid by financial services companies rose only fractionally in December, while charges imposed for services increased for the first time in six months.
“The tournament’s legacy is also looking secure, with widespread reports from companies of post-competition business opportunities and an expected permanent boost to tourism. The Future Activity Index, tracking the 12-month outlook, rose to a 29-month high in December,” Al-Jaida added.
The QFS is a business center located in Doha that provides a platform for firms to do business in Qatar offering a legal, regulatory, tax and business environment.
RIYADH: Reforms to Saudi Arabia’s water sector are set to give the Kingdom a “competitive advantage” over other countries which face supply problems, according to a new analysis by the Saline Water Conversion Corp..
The report from the organization highlights how Saudi Arabia — one of the most water-stressed countries in the world — is taking a range of measures to ensure its water security as a foundation to achieve the socioeconomic transformation targeted in the Vision 2030 plan.
The actions include reducing water demand by optimizing use in agricultural production, increasing water supplies by increasing desalination and storage capacity, and improving the resilience of the water system by boosting transmission and interlinkage projects.
SWCC notes that at least 112 countries are facing high or even extreme water stress entirely or in parts of their territory, with countries in the Middle East and North Africa, among the hardest hit.
“With increasing water stress across the world, water will soon emerge as a key limiting factor to socioeconomic development, giving countries that have invested in creating a water-resilient system a competitive advantage,” the report said.
As Saudi Arabia has limited natural water sources, with most of its total water supply sourced from non-renewable groundwater, the Kingdom is ramping up investment in desalination plants and strategic storage.
“SWCC is investing in increasing its capacity to desalinate, transmit, and store water to meet increasing demand and further enhance water supply security. Today, Saudi Arabia can store 21 million cubic meters, which is equivalent to 2.2 days of current municipal water demand,” said the report.
The analysis further pointed out that projects are ongoing in the Kingdom to expand storage capacity by 14 percent, and the expansion of a further 225 percent is planned to reach seven days of strategic storage by 2030.
The Kingdom is also planning to increase desalination capacity by an additional 17.4 percent by 2030.
Saudi Arabia is also reducing water demand by optimizing water usage in agricultural production.
In the past, farmers in Saudi Arabia who primarily cultivate wheat mostly relied on non-renewable groundwater, which ultimately resulted in its depletion.
To combat this, it was decided to change the policy and phase out the production of water-intensive crops – such as wheat and alfalfa – between 2008 and 2016, said SWCC in its report.
The Kingdom also aims to increase treated wastewater and reuse it for irrigation.
“Vision 2030 targets achieving 100 percent treated wastewater, of which 70 percent will be reused. In 2021, 86 percent of wastewater is being treated, and 26.12 percent is being reused,” SWCC said in the report.
The full report can be read here.
RIYADH: Dubai rolled out a 32 trillion dirham ($8.7 trillion) economic plan on Wednesday with targets to spur trade and investments over the next decade as it looks to double the size of the emirate’s economy. 
Also referred to as D33, the new agenda includes as many as 100 transformative projects in Dubai as the government wants to place the emirate among the top three economic cities in the world. 
“We have more than 300,000 investors in Dubai and I invite everyone to join our journey to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai said in a tweet.
Dubai will rank as one of the top four global financial centers with an increase in FDI to over AED 650 billion over the next decade. Over 300,000 global investors are helping build Dubai into the fastest growing global city
Under the plan, foreign trade is targeted to reach 25.6 trillion dirhams over the next ten years, up from 14.2 trillion dirhams in the past decade. 
The ruler of Dubai also tweeted that the emirate is planning on attracting foreign direct investment at an average of 60 billion dirhams annually in the next decade to reach over and above 650 billion dirhams by 2033.  
On the other hand, government expenditures are expected to reach 700 billion dirhams by 2033, when compared to the 512 billion dirhams in the previous ten years. 
As for private sector investments, they are projected to hit 1 trillion dirhams in the coming decade, up from 790 billion dirhams in the past ten years. 
The value of domestic demand for goods and services is forecasted to stand at 3 trillion dirhams by 2033, up from 2.2 trillion dirhams in the past decade. 
Meanwhile, digital transformation will witness 100 billion dirhams as an annual contribution to digital transformation projects. 
Similarly, in November, the UAE set out a plan to double its gross domestic product to 3 trillion dirhams by 2031 through driving up the country’s non-oil exports and tourism sector.  
Unveiled by Sheikh Mohammed at the UAE Annual Government meetings held in Abu Dhabi, the “We The UAE 2031” plan has a focus on social, economic, investment and development aspects. 
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index snapped its three-day rally by falling 129.04 points — or 1.21 percent —  on Wednesday to close at 10,516.90, burdened by the concerns of a sharp fall in crude oil prices and lingering demand concerns.  
Brent LCOc1 futures fell 2.3 percent or $1.88 to $80.22 a barrel by 1:32 p.m. Riyadh time, even as US crude CLc1 slipped 2.2 percent or $1.68 to $75.25 per barrel.  
The benchmark index touched 10,697.71 at 11:33 a.m. but erased its gains later in the day.  
“Oil prices came under some selling pressure due to demand concerns and the rising cases of COVID-19 in China. It is expected that the wave of fluctuations in the markets will continue in the coming period with continued caution until awaiting economic data from major countries indicate the overall economic picture,” Raed Mohamed Diab, vice president of investment strategy and research of Kuwait-based Kamco Invest, told Arab News.  
The advance-decline ratio reflected the pulse of the market as 177 stocks of the listed 223 slipped while 36 gained. 
Parallel market Nomu and MSCI Tadawul 30 Index declined 1.2 percent and 1.26 percent to close at 19,323.88 and 1,465.70, respectively.  
However, the total trading turnover of TASI on Wednesday rose to SR4.51 billion ($1.2 billion) from Tuesday’s SR3.88 billion.  
“The Saudi market declined in today’s trading after several sessions of bullishness, awaiting new incentives. Eyes now have shifted toward the financial results of the listed companies for the year 2022,” said Diab.   
He added that the sense of uncertainty persists about the prospects for the global economy in light of the high inflation rates, monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve, continued interest rate hikes, and fears of entering a recessionary phase in several major global capitals.  
Stock markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council region on Jan. 4 also mirrored a lackluster mood as all indices except Dubai and Bahrain fell. However, the gains registered by the duo were minor.   
On the announcements front, Al Moammar Information Systems Co. informed the stock exchange that it won a contract worth SR36 million from the Saudi Data and AI Authority to develop solutions for the Boroog visual communication platform.  
The project aims to raise the level of compliance with cybersecurity controls, expand Boroog’s infrastructure, and build and develop the platform’s applications, the company said in a statement to Tadawul. Its share price inched up 0.43 percent to SR94.40.  
Malath Cooperative Insurance Co. announced it was awarded a contract to provide cooperative health insurance services for the employees and family members of Al-Othaim Holding Co. and its subsidiaries for one year. The insurer’s share price rose 1.74 percent to SR11.70. 


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *