Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi, Saudi minister of commerce and investment, on Wednesday said his ministry will launch a national program to combat commercial cover-ups next week.
Commercial cover-ups involve non-Saudis owning businesses or working while hiding behind Saudi names. Ten government entities will collaborate with the ministry to implement the program, said Al-Qassabi.
The entities include the General Investment Authority, the General Authority of Zakat and Tax, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, and the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at).
Salman Al-Hajjar, adviser to the minister of trade and investment, said the program will combat commercial cover-ups by “implementing technical solutions, opening bank accounts for establishments” and “automating all services and payment channels.”
Regulations will be reviewed to assess their suitability in light of economic developments in the country, which may result in increasing penalties for perpetrators of commercial cover-ups, he added.
The program will also focus on raising public awareness about the economic and social harm caused by commercial cover-ups.
In that regard, Al-Hajjar said Saudi citizens will play an essential role by reporting such practices.
“This phenomenon (commercial cover-ups) is done in secret. It isn’t documented … which requires considerable investigation and unified efforts to prove. The citizen has the main role in revealing those violations,” he added.