Saudi Arabia is tightening up the business licensing process. It has also mandated banks to report on accounts that carry funds disproportionate to known sources of income. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia is setting up a ministerial committee to take on commercial fraud and propose solutions to bring down its impact.

The committee will take aim at activities such as foreign nationals owning businesses in the kingdom while using the names of Saudi citizens.

There will be advanced levels of coordination among authorities issuing business licenses and manpower visas.

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The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority will build an index to measure the percentage of suspected cases of commercial cover-ups and keep updating the records based on the the data it receives from the authorities.

Banks brought in

Earlier, all banks were asked to monitor accounts of expatriate workers who have deposits disproportionate to their known sources of income.

According to instructions from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), all banks have to inform the Ministry of Commerce and Industry about deposits not commensurate with salaries and other sources of income of account holders.

Another mandatory requirement

All business owners will be asked to present Saudiasation certificates from the Ministry of Labor before getting their licenses renewed. The ministries of interior and labor will continue to work toward Saudiasation of business activity that have good returns and thus be able to attract the citizens.

Give more teeth to laws

Various regulations will be reviewed to assess their suitability to meet the fast-changing economic landscape in the country, and with stricter penalties for those found to be committing fraud.

Saudi citizens will also play an important role in the crackdown, which will rely on them reporting possible cover-ups.

Restrict access

The move is in line with Saudi efforts to put a limit to the control of expatriates over some commercial activities, more commonly known as ‘Tasattur’.

A direct electronic link-up with all government and semi-government authorities through the Ministry of Interior’s national information center will provide relevant data of an individual to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other authorities.