Saudi to open entrepreneurship to expat investors

Published:  21 Mar at 6 PM
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After years of denial and restrictions on expat investment, the Saudi government is now considering allowing expat entrepreneurs to be their own sponsors.

Previously, participation in the sector had been confined to Saudi nationals and had resulted in commercial cover-ups costing the kingdom’s economy billions of riyals. The new rules, at present under discussion, are expected to allow expat investors to start their own businesses and be their own sponsors once an investment license has been granted.

However, the sting in the tail involves taxes, to be raised at an average of 20 per cent annually. Two types of tax will apply, dependent on the status of the business, and the actual percentages will also depend on the profession the business represents.

The first tax type will involve regular accounts presented in terms of costs, revenues and gains, whilst the second tax type will apply to estimated profits where there are no actual gains. According to Commerce and Investment Minister Majid al Qasabi, previous commercial cover-ups had severely harmed the kingdom’s economy, with the new rule bringing transparency and taxation to expatriate enterprises.

Meanwhile in Kuwait, anti-expat sentiment has reared its head again in the form of lawyer Mohammad al Ansari’s urging of the authorities to suspend all expatriate driving licenses. Al Ansari’s take on the country’s traffic crisis involves a vast number of expatriates clogging up the emirate’s roads and making life extremely difficult for Kuwait citizens. The proposed ban should last until the Ministry of the Interior comes up with a plan to solve the traffic chaos which, he said, reflects an ‘uncivilised image’ of the emirate.

Kuwait’s expat healthcare conundrum took a new turn over last weekend, with sources stating it would be at least three years before expat-only private medical facilities including segregated hospitals could be provided. Expatriates in the emirate make up around 70 per cent of the entire population, making the process of banning them from Kuwait’s public hospitals a gradual process.

Source: Arab Times
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