In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Saudi Ministry of Commerce granted establishments that violate National Anti-Commercial Concealment law an opportunity to correct their status, allowing a grace period till August 23.
The correction period provides multiple options for both Saudi citizens and residents who violate the provisions of the law. Those who approach the Ministry with a request to correct their status will be exempted from the penalties prescribed in the law and the consequences thereof, and of the retroactive payment of income tax.
However, penalties will be applied on those who are arrested by the ministry for committing a crime or violating provisions of the law before submitting a request to rectify their status, or whoever was referred to the Public Prosecution or the competent court.
Minister of Commerce Majid al-Qasabi tweeted about the grace period, saying the ministry had started working on a regulation to rectify the conditions of those who violate the law, adding: “It is a valuable chance for those wishing to correct their status. I invite them to make use of its advantages and comply with the law.”
Violators have the option to incorporate a Saudi or non-Saudi regular partner to continue to work in the firm or sell or register the ownership of the firm in the name of another or transfer the ownership to a non-Saudi after obtaining an investment license.
The government agencies participating in the National Anti-Commercial Concealment Program affirmed their full readiness to support all applicants requesting to correct their status and become regular investors in accordance with the options stipulated in the regulations for correcting the status.
They warned that there won’t be any leniency in the application of heavy penalties after the end of the corrective period.
The regulations included the illegal tools used in concealment practices, criteria for selecting criminal investigation personnel along with a definition of their powers and tasks, aiming to address the establishment's status in a regular manner.
The owner will have to localize jobs and pay government fees and taxes, which will contribute to the development of the business environment and create jobs.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) obliged banks operating in the Kingdom with a new electronic instant payments system for various activities, designed to make the country less dependent on cash and carry out immediate interbank transfers.
The new system would contribute to the country’s economic development by increasing the speed and efficiency of financial transactions in the corporate and retail sectors.
The system complements the activation of the use of electronic channels through the implementation of the integrated digital payments strategy program to upgrade the level of electronic services provided.
It also comes within the efforts of the national program to combat commercial concealment through the gradual obligation of the retail sector to provide electronic payment methods.
The National Anti-Commercial Concealment Program affirmed that all retail outlets will have to provide electronic payment methods, which will enable consumers to use those means in all outlets and reducing cash dependency.
The Ministry of Commerce will carry out inspection rounds to monitor the compliance of all establishments, receive consumer complaints in case the service is not available, and apply the maximum penalties to non-compliant establishments.