Saudis to pay $1 billion in monthly bills electronically

Published June 11th, 2008 - 07:13 GMT

In a dramatic reversal of consumer behaviour in just five years, almost three-quarters of Saudi Arabia now settles utility, phone and other bills by electronic means such as ATMs, phone banking and online, according to new statistics.


At the heart of the switch is Sadad - established by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) as the national bill presentation and payment service. Sadad links organisations and their invoices with local banks enabling them to collect customer payments electronically through all banking channels 24 hours a day. “The majority - 82% in March this year - of bills in Saudi Arabia are now paid through Sadad. In addition, the value of bills paid through Sadad reached $600 million in March and is on target to reach nearly $1 billion a month by the end of 2008,” said Nezar Al Murgen, Director of Business Development for Sadad Payment Systems.


Sadad's introduction was highlighted recently as a major example of successful implementation of new and efficient business processes at the 4th Middle East Business Process Management Summit held in Dubai recently.
In 2003, prior to Sadad's introduction, 73% of bills were paid physically by customers in banks. The percentage of customers paying by that method has this year has now declined to only 12%. Payment through ATMs is favoured by 42% with 27% opting for phone banking and 19% online.


Organisations such as telecom, utility, TV, airline and banks are now involved in the Sadad system as billers along with water, postal, customs and municipalities. More than 40 more government and private sector organisations are also integrating with the system.


Another example of where the introduction of modern business process management has led to a more efficient performance was provided during the Keynote inaugural address by Dr Ahmed bin Hezeem, Director General of Dubai Courts. Following the introduction of business process management in the human resources and IT sectors, more than two-thirds of cases before the Dubai Courts of First Instance, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal are dealt with within three months. A further 20% or more are dealt with within six months.


"Both of these cases are successful examples of how integrating automation with business process improvement can quite literally transform organisations into top-class performers," said Raza Chevel, Conference Manager for IIR Middle East, organisers of the Middle East Business Process Management Summit.


Other key speakers at the conference which attracted 80 high profile delegates consisting of Business Analysts, Advisors, Strategic Planners, Finance Managers and General Managers, included Ali Al Marzouqi, Director of Strategy at the UAE Ministry of Economy.


Al Marzouqi presented a keynote entitled “A Top Down Or Bottom Up Approach?” which examined which business process management (BPM) strategy organisations should adopt and why. He specifically went in to depth on how to design a logical BPM sequence, its implications and creating a structure independent to the organisational set up.   


The international and regional business community provided solid support for the event. Gold sponsors were Metastorm, a specialist in business process management architecture, analysis and modeling; Intalio, a leading vendor of open source business process management systems; and Dubai Industrial City. Associate partner was IBM.

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