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Saudi Arabia imposes 5% VAT on basic goods, OFWs advised to spend wisely

by UNTV NEWS   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

International Philippine School in Al-Khobar

The imposition of the government of Saudi Arabia of a five percent Value Added Tax (VAT) will affect the Arab nation’s food and beverage industry, petroleum products, rents of commercial establishments, remittance fee, and domestic transportation, among others.

The VAT already resulted in an increase of almost 55 percent in prices of gasoline.

With this, electricity rates will go up to 300 percent.

Overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Raymond Tolosa is already complaining because of a ten percent rise in school tuition this year. He worries it will further increase next year because of additional taxes.

“It’s better to send my children back to the Philippines because it’s more costly to study here,” he said.

However, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto noted that some Philippine schools in the Arab country might be exempted from the additional taxes if it can prove that they are community schools.

“For schools that have requested for certification, come here at the embassy… we can assure you that we will release a statement saying you are exempted, ” Alonto said.

Exempted from the additional taxes are residential rents, medicines, and medical equipment.

It was in 2016 when the unified agreement for VAT of the cooperation council for the Arab states of the gulf was released. The Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia are among the Arab countries that signed the agreement.

The VAT is a financial measure of Saudi Arabia, which will become one of its non-oil revenue sources.

According to Ambassador Alonto, with this development, Filipinos based in Saudi Arabia should learn how to properly save money.

“Filipinos here know how to endure. We know how to strive for our families,” said Alonto — Bong Duqueza | UNTV News & Rescue

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Saudi women now legally allowed to drive

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2018


A Saudi woman, Amira, who works in Aramco, drives to her office in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Saudi Arabia officially lifted its driving ban on women on Sunday, allowing them to drive for the first time since the 1950s.

Women across the country celebrated the lifting of the longstanding policy, with many getting behind the wheel and driving around the streets.

Asmaa Assidmi was one of the women in Riyadh who lawfully exercised the newfound freedom.

“I’m so happy today. It’s a historic day for Saudi women. All women now have the chance to drive, I don’t even know how to express my feelings,” said the excited Assidmi, who just drove herself to work Sunday morning.

Her husband Luay Assidmi, who accompanied her during the trip, said the lifting of the driving ban for women will benefit families and represent a great step forward for the kingdom.

“This means she now has more independence. Not just independence, but she will also have the same responsibilities in our family as a man, just like two people driving one car, which means sharing responsibilities. And what’s truly important is that she can now make her own choices, instead of relying on me for a decision on everything,” he said.

Prince Al-waleed bin Talal, renowned businessman and a member of the Saudi royal family, lauded it as one of the “greatest decisions” in the country’s history in a video posted on social media.

The lifting of the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia means not only freedom and openness for Saudi women but also an opportunity for many businesses. Local media has forecast a 6-10 percent growth for the domestic car market, and car dealers are also preparing to embrace the female car market.

Themed events on women driving have also been held in major cities across the country, including a recent exhibition held by the Saudi Telecom Company which was dedicated to teach woman how to drive.

“We have specifically set up this exhibition area to give Saudi women a taste of what it’s like to drive a car. Before they get their license they can come here and drive the simulator. And also, through our simulation of how cars rolling in an accident, they will be able to understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt while driving,” said Sulaiman Almshari, manager of the company.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud declared the lift of the ban on female driving in September last year.

In line with the decree, Saudi transport authorities started to issue driving licenses to women on June 4.— Reuters

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Russians overjoyed following sensational World Cup victory

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, June 15th, 2018

Soccer Football – World Cup – Group A – Russia vs Saudi Arabia, Rostov-on-Don, Russia – June 14, 2018 Fans celebrate fifth goal. REUTERS/Marko Djurica



Russian fans were all smiles leaving the Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday following Russia’s resounding victory over Saudi Arabia.

Saudi nationals remained gracious following their team’s defeat, maintaining that participation in the tournament was its own reward.

The World Cup opener was anticipated to be anticlimactic as both national teams are among the lowest ranking teams in the tournament. But the teams’ rankings did not detract from the entertainment, as Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0.

The match was the first of 64 that will be played in Russia as part of the tournament. —Reuters

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Teams arrive in Russia as World Cup nears

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr standing with players, posing for photograph. Image grabbed from Reuters video

Various teams arrived in Russia on Monday (June 11) and the early hours of Tuesday (June 12) just a few days before the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Nigeria touched down in Mineralnye Vody early on Tuesday wearing traditional Nigerian dress in the colors of the national team.

On Monday, Mexico arrived in Moscow, Switzerland landed in Samara and Serbia flew into Kaliningrad.

The World Cup begins on Thursday (June 14) when the hosts, Russia face Saudi Arabia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. — Reuters

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