Why SAMA prevents women to open accounts for children?

Why SAMA prevents women to open accounts for children?

Al-Watan newspaper

WE know very well that most public sectors and ministries now work diligently on development programs and initiatives aimed at upgrading their business activities and services to meet requirements of Vision 2030. During that process, some errors are expected to occur and they must be corrected immediately. By 2020, there will be a review of all those who have made promises to achieve projects and programs based on certain standards.

There is nothing wrong in making criticisms. In fact, it would benefit those who receive the service in the end. The worst thing is that individuals still promote a sector or ministry that continues to provide poor services and does not have any ambition to satisfy someone with whom he has vested interests or he refuses to give up a traditional and stereotypical idea, for example.

So I think substantive criticisms are recommendable as it would give a greater chance to review plans and recalculate them once again to achieve better results. Nobody would be interested to waste more time and money. We expect from government sectors to keep a close watch on the performance of their employees in order to improve them by executing new systems to enhance progress and prosperity of citizens and support them to earn a living with dignity.

This objective cannot be achieved as long as the ministries’ branch offices outside the three main cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam do not cope with the government’s new systems. Many of them justify their adherence to the old system by saying they have not received the new circular.

What we could not understand is that when the working mother’s salary was considered as part of the total family income and indirectly imposed on her the responsibility of spending on the house, following modern systems, she is not allowed by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the Kingdom’s central bank, to open a bank account for her children.

If a married mother decides to open a bank account for her children, she must bring her husband or the court's consent, being her guardian, as if her existence as a mother has no value! Many mothers had to face this bad experience when they wanted to save part of their monthly salaries for the benefit of their children. They were not allowed to open accounts even after they produced letters from their employers indicating their salary amount and annual income as well as other documents such as ID cards, family ID and birth certificates of children.

SAMA rejected such applications by saying mothers are not guardians of their children as per the law. It also demands from applicants to produce either the documents of custody or evidences to prove that the mother supports the children, or the consent of their father.

Before writing this article, I myself realized that the instructions of SAMA do not allow the mother to open accounts for her minor children under normal circumstances, unless she had a social problem and obtained a mandate or guardianship certificate. By doing so the agency is making a statement that normal mothers are not entitled to get involved in affairs of their children, unless she is divorced or widowed, or has received an authority from the court to act in place of her husband.

According to the law, a person who has custody or jurisdiction over a minor has the right to open a bank account in the name of the minor, whether it’s father, mother or others, because originally the father has the right to custody, unless he is incapacitated or does not have the trust. There is no dispute on that. But in modern days mothers take up many responsibilities along with their husbands. As a result, the government has allowed women to complete their procedures without any guardian.

The Ministry of Interior has granted mothers the right to apply for family ID cards bearing names of their children while the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has calculated women’s salary in their husbands’ accounts and considers spending on the family as the duty of husbands.

SAMA also knows that the Ministry of Justice compels husbands to pay alimony even if the separated wives are gainfully employed. We would like to know why SAMA still prevents women from opening accounts for their children and why it’s not changing its regulations to cope with new government systems?

Therefore, we call upon SAMA to change its regulations related to mother in order to allow all mothers to open bank accounts for their children. The accounts can be controlled by the mother if she finances them or by the father even if parents remain married or divorced.

SAMA can give protection to such accounts until the children reach legal age. The present contradictory systems and regulations followed by different government agencies and ministries look strange and must be corrected as quickly as possible.