Saudi Arabia approved a new tax regime for oil and natural gas producers on Monday. Under the new regime hydrocarbon companies will be taxed depending on their capital, therefore companies with capital of more than SR375 billion will pay 50 percent income tax, those with capital between SR300 billion and SR375 billion will pay 65 percent tax, those with capital between SR225 billion and SR300 billion will pay 75 percent of tax and those with capital below SR225 billion 85 percent of tax. The consequence will be a boost of Saudi Aramco’s valuation and it will see its income tax fall from 85 percent to 50 percent. The new rates will also put the company in line with international benchmarks and the new rate is effective retroactively from Jan. 1. Moreover future investrors interested in buying Saudi Aramco shares will see more clash flow. In fine the government will not lose income due to the fact that any reduction in tax is replaced by stable dividend payments.
The coalition Command to Support the Legitimacy in Yemen said today in a statement that Saudi border cities were targeted by Houthi militias with smuggled rockets through the port of Al-Hodeidah. The Command added that the Coalition air forces targeted immediately the launching sites and that the Royal Saudi air force intercepted four ballistic missiles launched towards the cities of KhamisMushayt and Abha and they destroyed them without causing any damage. In fine the coalition said these actions are the strongest evidence of the continued smuggling of weapons to Yemen especially from the port of Hodeidah.
During the Cabinet session at Yamaha Palace King Salman expressed his hope on the Arab Summit, that will be held in Jordan on Monday, and on the cooperation and solidarity that the summit will encreas in the Arab countries. Moreover on the latest development on the global level the Cabinet expressed its comdannation of the terror attack in London, welcomed the ministerial statement about the role of the global coalition to defeat Daesh and expressed ita appreciation on the Saudi donation to the international fund for the protection of cultural heritage compromised during armed conflicts. The Cabinet also authorized the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss with Norway a general agreement for cooperation between the Saudi and Norwegian governments and approved the establishment of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Guatemala.
During the opening of an international conference organized by the Muslim World League (MWL) in Makkha on Sunday, King Salman’s stressed that the Kingdom is an example of protection of human rights, freedom, welfare and comprehensive development for community. He also added that all this will be done in accordance of the islamic values and with the goal of mantaining security. Moreover Prince Khalid, who delivered in an address the King’s words, added that freedom of expression is an integral part of the overall freedoms and that it is granted in Islam, but it should not involve attacks on religion, its rituals or holy places. Prince Khalid also said media should be responsible of spreading spiritual values and humanity and that freedom is one of the most important human values.
Concerning King Salman’s Asian tour, Mohammed al-Khunaizi a senior member of the Shoura Council told Arab News that the aim of the visit to the Southeast Asian countries is to sustain good relations with them and for the benefit of the Saudi economy that will reach Saudi Vision 2030 goals. The tour will also bring benefits to the Gulf states and the wider Islamic world and also the economy of the Kingdom, which will grow faster as a consequence of the signing of agreements worth billions of dollars. Moreover Dr. Majed Abdullah Al-Hedayan, a legal consultant and investment expert in Riyadh, said the tour comes at a time when the Kingdom is trying to diversify its economy and consolidate its relations with the Muslim world around Asia and the tour principal aim is to deepen relations between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Asian countries in terms of economy but also security and stability.
After the meeting with US President Donald Trump, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince bin Salman hailed US President as a “true friends of Muslims” and affirmed he does not believe that Trump’s ban targets Islam specifically also because as senior adviser to Prince Mohammed said “Trump has an unprecedent and serious intention to work with the Muslim world”. Moreover this meeting marked a difference from Riyadh’s relationship with the Obama administration. In fine the White House has announced that the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and President Trump have discussed potential economic projects worth $200 billion.
Today King Salman arrived in Japan, the fourth country of his tour in Asia which started on February 26, and he was received at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo by Crown Prince Nahurito of Japan, Saudi Ambassador to Japan Al-Barrak and officials of the saudi embassy. His tour is the first by a Saudi king since 1971 when King Faisal visited Japan. During the visit Japan aims to strengthen relations with the Kingdom, which is Japan’s largest provider of oil exports, and to try to diversify its economy, including ways to increase japanese investments in non-energy sectors. Moreover the discussion will also focus on bilateral and regional issues, conflicts in the Middle East, Saudi.Japanese cooperation and commercial partnership, with a special reference to Saudi Aramco IPO.
In anticipation to King Salman’s visit to Japan on March 12 as part of his Asian tour, the Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia Norihiro Okuda said the visit main intent is to strengthen ties in different fields and for this reason the King will hold talks with top Japanese officials covering bilateral,regional (East Asia) and international issues, such as Middle East issues like Yemen and Syria. During the visit Japan will discuss with King Salman not only on economic issues but also culture and entertainment to achieve the goals set in the Saudi Vision 2030 besides security cooperation. For that reason both countries established the Joint Group for Saudi-Japn Vision 2030.
During the talks in Kuala Lumpur King Salman and Malaysian Prime Minister Razak announced the establishment of an international center for peace and harmony that will be named ‘King Salman Center for Global Peace’. Moreover in a joint statement the two countries stressed the need to find solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East such as in Syria and Yemen and to stop the Iranian interference in the internal affairs in the Arab countries. Concerning the project of the Center for Global Peace, the Saudi Ministry of Defense,the Center for Security and Defense at the Malaysian Ministry of Defense, the Malaysian University of Islamic Sciences and the Makkah-based Muslim World League will coordinate to complete the arrangements to implement the launch of the center in 90 days from the date of its announcement.
Four major agreements were signed by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. The first memorandum of understanding is related to cooperation in the trade and investement field and was signed by Minister of State Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Malysian Minister of Commerce and Industry Mustapa Mohamed. The second one includes cooperation in the field of labor and human resources. The third one concerns boosting cooperation in scientific and education sectors and the fourth one is about cooperation between SPA and National News Agency of Malaysia. During the visit there were also many ministerial meetings such as the one with the Malaysian Minister of Education and Saudi Arabia also announced more scholarships for Malaysian students due to 300 applications received last year.