Saudi Arabia: E-payments in Public Benefit Markets Are Mandatory

Saudi Arabia News developments

Saudi Arabia: E-payments in Public Benefit Markets Are Mandatory

Saudi Gazette, 11 December 2023: Saudi Arabia’s Environment, Water and Agriculture Ministry has announced it has issued guidelines to regulate the operation of public benefit markets and monitor the work of service providers.

Among other things, under the Agricultural Law using e-payments when buying and selling in public benefit markets is mandatory. The Saudisation rules also have to be complied with in line with government regulations. A licence has to be obtained from the Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Ministry as well.

In order to establish a new market in a city or governorate where there is an existing market, the new market has to demonstrate it has a comparative advantage over the existing market. The population in the area must also be proportionate to the number of markets wanting to establish in the city.

The capacity of the existing market must be insufficient to accommodate all activities as well.

When a new livestock market is being established, the fact they are outside the urban area must be taken into account.

When the market conforms to the previous standards, it is up to the Ministry to decide on the application.

An aerial photograph showing the location of the new market must also be attached to the application.

In addition, there are specific requirements for holding seasonal markets and auctions. These include that an entity that organises the market or auction bears all financial and organisational burdens. The seasonal market or auction must also not affect the movement and activity of the public goods market in the region.

All market stakeholders including wholesalers, retailers, distributors, service providers, cooperative societies and transporters have to register.

The relevant authority will determine the appropriate working days and hours for each market in the cities, governorates and their affiliated centres on regular and seasonal days such as Ramadan and Hajj.

A sign will also have to be placed clearly at the market entrances. This will have to indicate the operational days and hours as well as the days of the seasons, the name of the season and its start and end dates.

Agricultural product prices in the main markets in the Kingdom will be made through approved channels and platforms through the price controller assigned by the Environment, Water and Agriculture Ministry and its branches and offices.

Investors have to enter prices and quantity information through approved channels and platforms.

All market stakeholders have to place waste in designated places and waste containers and places exposed to pollution must be periodically cleaned and sterilised.

If the market is closed, air curtains will be put at the entrances. Insects, rodents, and stray animals will have to be controlled via mechanical and chemical methods and must not affect the safety of food products.

The Environment, Water and Agriculture Ministry will issue licences for shops, barns and stalls and permits for service providers and market workers affiliated with shops, firms and companies licensed to work in the market.

In terms of the transportation of agricultural products, quality and safety of agricultural products must be maintained.

Vehicle owners who fail to comply will be fined. Only healthy agricultural products should be permitted to enter and agricultural products which are unfit for human consumption should be destroyed.

Confiscated materials which are not fit for human consumption will be destroyed.

The Ministry will carry out periodic oversight of all stores, sheds, and barns on a daily basis and it is responsible for reporting visits and violations through approved channels.

Also reported in Al Riyadh on 10 December 2023. Click here to read more.

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Tanya Jain