Opinion

Tasattur is everywhere!

September 29, 2017
Tasattur is everywhere!
Anmar Mutaweh



Okaz

Three years ago, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) required all banks in the country to freeze the bank accounts of expatriate workers who carried out financial transactions that exceeded their monthly income. SAMA was very decisive because tasattur had dramatically increased and was causing a negative effect. Tasattur refers to the illegal understanding in which Saudis permit foreigners to manage businesses in their names in return for a share in the profits.

Tasattur is a crime that can cost the economy a lot of money. The money generated by tasattur is not included in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because it is not registered. It can have a negative impact on national economic policies, increase the unemployment rate, promote commercial fraud and disrupt the government’s development plans.

Article 1 of the Tasattur Law considers the following as tasattur: any practice in which a citizen permits a foreigner to invest or run a business that deals with commercial, industrial, economic, agricultural, mediation, banking, transportation, etc. activities, and permits the foreigner to use his name, license, or commercial certificate. The expatriate worker involved in tasattur is culpable as well.

Although the Ministry of Commerce gives 30 percent of the total amount of fines to people who report tasattur, the practice continues. Fines can reach SR1 million. Newspapers publish reports every now and then about tasattur and shed light on cases involving Saudis and non-Saudis. The reports also indicate that billions of Saudi riyals earned through tasattur continue to be transferred abroad.

In fact, the ministry does not need to wait until tasattur is reported. Tasattur is everywhere. The ministry’s inspectors can visit construction and contracting companies, car repair shops, grocery shops, dry cleaners, barbershops, electric supplies shops and the like. I am sure that if they were to carry out random visits, they would discover plenty of examples of tasattur. All of these businesses are run by expatriate workers. The ministry should introduce alternative solutions to curb tasattur.


September 29, 2017
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