Saudi King Salman has approved an aid package for Hajj and Umrah companies that have been financially impacted by the suspension pilgrimages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aid package, approved through a royal order issued on Monday, includes a list of initiatives that have been approved by the government to mitigate the negative economic impacts on the companies due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Exempting accommodation facilities of Hajj and Umrah companies based in the cities of Mecca and Medina from annual fees levied on licenses for municipal commercial activities. The measure will last for one year.
Private sector enterprises operating in the Hajj and Umrah sector will be exempted from paying the fees imposed on employed expatriates. The exemption will last for six months.
The Ministry of Tourism licenses for accommodation facilities in the cities of Mecca and Medina will be renewing free of charge, for one year, subject to an extension.
The collection of residency (Iqama) renewal fees for expatriates working in activities related to the Hajj and Umrah sector will be postponed for six months, the amount to be paid in installments over one year.
The validity of traffic licenses for buses working with transport pilgrims facilities will be extended for one year and free of charge.
The collection of customs duties on new buses scheduled to operate during the forthcoming Hajj season will be postponed for three months, with the amount to be paid in installments over four months, starting from its due date.
According to a report from the Saudi Press Agency, the government has launched more than 150 initiatives, with allocations exceeding SR 180 billion, aimed at addressing the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating its effects on individuals, private sector, and investors.