In the wake of enforcing more stringent measures for the business licensing process, the Saudi government has established a ministerial committee to manage and counter commercial cover-up (tasattur). The committee will also be responsible for proposing solutions and initiatives to eliminate the practice.
The new committee will look into foreign nationals who own businesses registered under the names of Saudi Arabian citizens. In an earlier initiative, the Saudi Monetary Agency (SAMA) instructed all banks to monitor foreign workers’ accounts and report to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry about the ones whose deposits are not matching their known sources of income.
Saudi citizens will also be asked to report suspected fraud through the Ministry of Commerce and Investment via an online portal. The order also stipulated that a number of ministries and authorities, including the ministries of commerce, human resources and social development, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the General Authority for Zakat and Income, and others will coordinate to issue business licenses and manpower visas.
These agencies will also provide necessary data for the measuring suspected cases of cover-up every quarter. The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, in turn, will formulate an index to measure the percentage of suspected cases of commercial cover-ups and keep updating the records based on the data it receives from the authorities.
Under the new guidelines, going further, business owners will be asked to present Saudiazation certificates from the Ministry of Labor before they can renew their licenses. The new program aims to reduce the exit of funds from the country, promote private sector growth, and create a competitive environment that encourages Saudis to invest in the country.
Source: Zawya, Saudi Gazette, Al Arabiya, Gulfnews