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Report | The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Home to an estimated 15% of the world’s proven oil reserves and the single-largest economy in MENA, Saudi Arabia is a key regional and global player. The Vision 2030 blueprint sets out regulatory, budget and social reforms that will be implemented over the coming decade as the nation sets about curbing its reliance on crude oil production and export, which accounted for 43.5% of GDP in 2018.

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Chapter | Energy from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Even as Saudi Arabia lays the groundwork for diversification, the energy sector is expected to continue to play a leading role in the economy. It is estimated that oil and gas will account for at least half of the country’s exports to 2040. As the world’s leading oil exporter, the Kingdom plays a key role in meeting global demand and forming international energy policies, as evidenced by the implementation of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) supply cuts to stabilise oil prices. In 2019 Saudi Arabia’s energy sector aims to strike a balance between diversifying and strengthening downstream offerings such as petrochemicals, and incorporating renewables into the energy mix. This chapter contains interviews with Abdulkarim Alnujaidi, CEO, National Gas and Industrialisation Company; and Kamal Pharran, CEO, Saudi Tabreed.

Chapter | Jeddah from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

As Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, Jeddah serves as an important commercial centre and is also the setting for a series of important developments currently under way, which will secure its place on the map as a regional economic centre. While Jeddah already boasts the biggest seaport on the Red Sea and is the gateway to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina, it is also set to become home to new tourist destinations and the world’s tallest building, the Jeddah Tower. As such, the city will play a central role in achieving the Kingdom’s aim of reducing its dependence on oil and diversifying its economy, as laid out in the long-term development blueprint Saudi Vision 2030. This chapter contains an interview with Mazen Batterjee, Vice-Chairman, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Chapter | The Guide from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

The guide contains listings of some of the leading hotels and resorts in Saudi Arabia as well as contacts for important government offices and services. It also contains useful tips and information for business and leisure visitors alike.

Chapter | Makkah & Medina from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Makkah and Medina are situated in western Saudi Arabia, near the coast of the Red Sea and roughly 350 km apart. The cities are home to Islam’s holiest sites, and are thus important to the religious lives of many of the world’s 1.2bn Muslims. Makkah is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the location of the Masjid Al Haram, also known as the Grand Mosque, which houses the Kaaba, a shrine that Muslims consider the most sacred spot in the world. Medina, meanwhile, became the destination of the Prophet Muhammad’s flight from Makkah, and it was in this new city that he helped to build the Mosque of Quba – the first in Islamic history – and was later buried.

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Corporate income tax rules are governed by the Income Tax Law, which came into force in 2004. The Ministry of Finance issues ministerial resolutions concerning aspects of tax and zakat, a payment under Islamic law that is used for charitable or religious purposes. The General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT) regularly issues circulars and responses to frequently asked questions containing its interpretation or position on regulations. The GAZT generally prefers to take a substance-over-form approach in dealing with tax matters. The GAZT often scrutinises transactions and challenges taxpayers if they view transactions as being motivated by non-commercial tax reasons. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Wadih AbouNasr, Head of Tax, KPMG KSA Levant Cluster.

Chapter | Insurance from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

As a result of recent drops in oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s insurers have been operating in a challenging environment. The sector has faced stability issues over the last decade, and smaller players in the market are under increased scrutiny. For the better capitalised insurers, however, the market is a young and increasingly promising one. Insurance penetration in the Kingdom remains low, at approximately 1.7% of GDP according to Fitch credit ratings agency, and business is concentrated in the compulsory segments of motor and health cover. In some areas there have been encouraging signs of growth: data from the Kingdom’s central bank shows that insurance penetration expanded at a compounded annual growth rate of 12% between 2014 and 2019. This chapter contains an interview with Abdulaziz Al Boug, CEO, Tawuniya.