RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia on Monday introduced sudden, drastic cuts to salaries and perks for presidency staff as a part of the dominion’s wrestle to slash spending at a time of low oil costs.
The cuts, unveiled in a collection of royal decrees and cupboard statements learn aloud on state tv, decreased ministers’ salaries by 20 %, slashed perquisites for members of the consultative meeting and restricted additional time pay and trip for civil servants.
The drop in world petroleum costs since 2014 has brought about main monetary issues for the Saudi authorities, which will get most of its revenue from oil and ran a finances deficit of almost $one hundred billion final yr.
The brand new measures got here as a shock to many within the nation’s bloated public sector, which for many years has served as a car for the royal household to distribute its oil wealth within the type of nicely-paid jobs that always require little work.
Greater than two-thirds of employed Saudis work for the federal government.
The federal government this yr began a serious challenge, referred to as Imaginative and prescient 2030, aimed toward overhauling the financial system, decreasing the dependence on oil and making a extra productive native work pressure.
But few of the plan’s measures have been put in place. The federal government has raised gasoline and water costs and frozen giant development contracts, leaving some corporations unable to pay their staff.
However Monday’s cuts have been the primary to scale back Saudi paychecks.
Royal decrees minimize ministers’ pay by 20 % and compelled them to pay their very own phone payments for private strains. Additionally they reduce by 15 % stipends for housing, automobiles and different perks for members of the nation’s consultative Shura Council, who’re appointed by the king.
In a press release, the cupboard restricted the bonus that civil servants can earn for working extra time and capped annual depart at 30 days. It additionally put a freeze on new hires for presidency jobs by means of the top of the yr.
Saudi troops at present concerned within the nation’s warfare in Yemen have been exempted, the assertion added.
Apart from its finances difficulties, the Saudi financial system additionally faces a demographic problem, with an estimated 300,000 new job seekers getting into the market yearly. With the federal government not capable of take in them, many economists doubt that the personal sector can both, threatening to boost unemployment charges.
The dominion’s present financial woes present how a lot the state of affairs has modified for the Saudi monarch, King Salman, since he ascended to the throne in January of final yr. Quickly after, he decreed a cash bonus worth two-month’s salary to all authorities staff — at an estimated value of $32 billion.
Some Saudis took to social media on Monday to publish photographs of his predecessor, King Abdullah, and to recall his period of straightforward wealth.
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