JEDDAH — Following the Cabinet decision last Tuesday (July 16) to allow commercial activities to continue round the clock in return for fees that the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs will specify, Okaz/Saudi Gazette sources have learned that the fee, not exceeding SR100,000 ($26,665), would be levied to keep the stores open 24/7.
The Minster of Municipal and Rural Affairs will specify the fee for the issuance of approval for commercial activities to remain open for 24 hours. The minster will also specify the business activities, for which the fees are exempt, according to the public interest or the nature of the business.
The ministry, in coordination with the Interior Ministry, will set up the necessary controls to issue approvals. The Ministry of Labor and Social Development will put in place controls for the employment of workers within hours beyond regular working hours, within the limits of its powers.
The fees will be announced after three months after a final coordinated decision is arrived at by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Interior on the mechanisms for implementing the decision.
Though the decision to allow business activities to stay open round the clock is on offer, the onus on businesses to remain open round the clock is on the businessmen or the owner.
The Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi said earlier that the decision to allow stores to work for 24 hours would reflect positively on raising the level of satisfaction of the population in cities and opening new horizons for the business sector in different segments.
Al-Qasabi explained that the global experience has shown that regulating 24-hour trading reflects positively on the country's economy through growth in demand for goods and services, stimulating consumer spending, attracting capital investments, and enabling many sectors such as entertainment, tourism, transportation, and communications.
This decision is expected to create new job opportunities and raise the contribution of SMEs to the country’s GDP.