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Suhail bin Mohammed Abanmi

Governor, Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA)


Suhail bin Mohammed Abanmi is currently Governor at ZATCA. He has held several leadership positions, including governor of the General Authority for Zakat and Tax, acting governor of the General Customs Authority, deputy minister of Internal Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce, advisor to the Minister of Commerce and Investment, general supervisor of the Qawaem Program, and chairman of the board of directors of Bayan Credit Bearue. He has 20 years of experience in business and IT development in the banking and financial sector. He has a degree computer science from King Saud University, a master’s degree in computer engineering from the University of New South Wales, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of King Faisal.

"ZATCA is responsible for collecting zakat, taxes, and customs duties, as well as ensuring the highest levels of compliance via best practices and efficiency."

Suhail bin Mohammed Abanmi, Governor of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA), talks to TBY about working to ensure Saudi Arabia remains a top business destination by ensuring fair commercial practices, facilitating transparency, and increasing compliance among all taxpayers.

What is the main mandate of ZATCA?

ZATCA is responsible for collecting zakat, taxes, and customs duties, as well as ensuring the highest levels of compliance via best practices and efficiency. ZATCA’s vision is to protect the Kingdom and be a universal model in running zakat, taxes, and customs and facilitating trade effectively and transparently with customers. ZATCA seeks to achieve its vision by accomplishing several strategic objectives, the most important of which are strengthening security by protecting society and the national economy from unfair commercial practices, combating smuggling in all forms and types, and supporting national security entities in implementing policies. It also seeks to increase compliance rates among all taxpayers at all stages of the customer’s journey and ensure a positive experience that promotes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as an excellent location for business activities. One of the ZATCA’s objectives is to support economic development and cross-border trade in order to contribute to the Kingdom’s social and economic development, as well as to enable the Kingdom to become a global logistics hub through trade facilitation and to organize and manage all activities related to customs work and customs ports on land, sea, and air to ensure maximum efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness by providing high-quality services.

Vision 2030 covers multiple important theme that seeks to transform the Kingdom’s economy and society. How does ZATCA align with the objectives of Vision 2030?

The three main pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 are a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation. Those pillars were the foundation for developing the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority’s strategy and defining its vision: “To protect the Kingdom and be a universal model in running zakat, taxes, and customs, facilitating trade effectively and transparency with customers.” We are working to achieve our vision by launching multiple programs and initiatives and ensuring effective implementation. For example, various programs linked to Vision 2030 of becoming a global logistics hub and in line with ZATCA’s strategic objective supporting economic development and trade facilitation include developing an operational model that will allow exports and imports to be cleared in less than two hours. Furthermore, a program covers developing the operating model of ZATCA’s logistics and shipping services to ensure seamless trade operations, import flows, and trade exchanges. Moreover, ZATCA has launched several initiatives during the past months to enhance the private sector’s contribution to the economy, including: removal of customs declaration fees for Saudi exports to facilitate local industries exports; and reclassification of VAT violations and penalties related to field inspections to support economic growth and trade facilitation.

Looking ahead, what are ZATCA’s priorities for the next six to 12 months?

ZATCA’s strategy is currently focusing on delivering best in class integrated entity realizing synergies of combined tax and customs administration and preparing ZATCA to innovate and drive the global agenda on zakat, tax, and customs while maintaining security, business continuity and seamless customer experience. ZATCA strives to be a worldwide leader in defining future tax and customs directions by focusing on service digitalization and automation, as well as creating flexible processes and procedures to ensure a positive experience for customers across all stages of their journey. Additionally, ZATCA will continue to contribute to social and economic development by implementing a number of programs, examples of such programs include an e-invoicing program to convert the issuing of paper tax invoices into an electronic process that allows the exchange and processing of tax invoices in a structured electronic format through an integrated electronic solution. The second is a land ports and infrastructure development program to develop the ports to serve the Kingdom’s taxpayers, individuals, and visitors, as well as organize shipping areas and provide high-quality shipping and clearing logistics facilities and services. The program facilitates trade, import flow and trade exchanges, enhancing Saudi Arabia’s global logistics hub position. 6



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