Benefits of Tayseer for the private sector

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Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, who is also chairman of the Executive Committee for Improving the Performance of the Private Sector (Tayseer), sent a cable to the chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, according to a report published recently by Okaz newspaper. The cable is related to the decision of this business committee to implement 31 initiatives aimed at facilitating the establishment of businesses and obtaining licenses for them to operate in eight sectors. In his telegram, the minister asked the national committees and chambers of commerce to carry out experimental implementation of the amended procedures and licenses and to present their observations to the ministry within a month.

In the health sector, the committee canceled the requirement to achieve the percentage of Saudization in establishments until they obtain the final licenses from the Ministry of Health along with the postponement of the field inspection of health firms engaged in low risk activities until they obtain their licenses. It also permitted the granting of investor visas for health staff with an endorsement from the Ministry of Health.

The committee also decided to cancel the condition about an announcement to be made by the Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) about a period of time ranging between 14 and 45 days for obtaining qualified Saudi cadres. The committee approved the transfer of 11 licenses in the category of low risk activities to that of immediate licenses and these represent the activities of centers for medical rehabilitation, speech therapy, foot and ankle care, prostheses and orthodontic devices, nutrition, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, hearing therapy, pharmacy, medical warehouses, and centers for eyeglasses.

The committee approved three initiatives for the education sector: Reducing the years of experience for foreign investors from five years to one year; integrating the licensing of the education sector by granting one license for all levels of education in private and international schools, and abolishing the bank guarantee for training institutes.

Tayseer was not restricted to the health sector alone but also covers other sectors such as the commerce sector, where it cancelled the condition of recommending witnesses for activities in the sectors of precious minerals and precious stones. In the tourism sector, the committee canceled the requirement for joining tourist associations in the case of some sectors such as travel agencies; those organizing internal tourist trips; booking transportation, hotels and restaurants and car rental, and cancellation of the requirement for joining the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for travel and tourism agencies.

The committee also supported the agriculture sector in the field of environment related to poultry and fish farming, and the adoption of sites and cities for agriculture before offering them to the investor.

In the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, the committee announced canceling the bank guarantee for a number of activities including the telecommunications system using the VSAT system, mobile personal satellite communications, operation of the mobile satellite personal communications systems and networks, automated vehicle management system, call centers, communications and information technologies, Internet-teleporting, inflight Internet, mobile telephony services, lease of satellite communications facilities with broadband connection, and wholesale infrastructure services.

In the Saudi Postal sector, foreign investors will be allowed to carry out their activities with the cancellation of a number of conditions, such as SR5 million capital as a prerequisite for obtaining a license; bank guarantee amounting to 10 percent of the capital and the concession requirement for international companies.

There is no doubt that the committee has done a significant job in eliminating several difficulties and bottlenecks faced by many companies and establishments, especially small and medium enterprises. Some investors have frozen their investment while others were unable to solve their problems and eventually took their cases to the courts and entered into the legal proceedings that required much time and effort. On many occasions, these cases end up with reconciliation.

At a time when the committee has given due importance to business facilitation, I would like to emphasize that it is not enough and that a reduction in levies and dependent’s fees on expatriates would have a very good impact on investment and would be a facilitator for the Tayseer program.

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at algham@hotmail.com


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