Saudi Arabia Announces New Austerity Measures


The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Saudi Arabia ruler, King Salman has ordered cut in salaries of ministers by 20 percent and of Shoura Council members by 15 percent in a series of Royal Decrees.


The decree also includes a 15 percent reduction in benefits toward a car and housing for Shoura members. There will be 15 percent cut in the lump sum amount spent on Shoura members, including the price of vehicles, expenses for drivers, maintenance and fuel during their four-year term.
Another other Royal Decree scaled back financial perks for public sector employees.
The King also ordered stopping provision of vehicles for senior officials until the end of 1438 Hijra. Ministers and those in similar ranks shall pay the amount exceeding SR1,000 toward their monthly landline and mobile phone bills.
However, another decree gave exemption for troops involved in combat operations along the southern border and those involved in security, military and intelligence operations outside the Kingdom from a moratorium on annual increment for the Hijri year 1438.
The Cabinet, chaired by King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday, decided not to give any annual increment for the year 1438H. There will also be no financial increase while renewing contracts or extending their period as well as in re-hiring staff.
Overtime bonuses were also curbed at between a quarter and half of basic salaries, while annual leave may now no longer exceed 30 days.
The monthly transportation allowance for employees during vacation days will be stopped.
The annual leave for the ministers and those in the similar rank will be 36 days instead of the current 42 days. They will be compensated for the days exceeding 90 days from their annual leave credit.
The Cabinet also decided that the State will bear the cost of monthly phone bills of government employees amounting to a maximum of SR1,000 and the balance has to be paid by officials concerned.
All ministries and government departments shall prepare a statement about the details of posts in the grade of 10 or below in the non-essential sectors that remain vacant for more than three years or those which are vacant for more than six years in the essential sectors for which allocations were being made from the state exchequer.
The details shall be sent to the Ministry of Finance within 30 days.
This report shall be reviewed by a ministerial committee constituted for this purpose and the committee shall prepare monthly report about the vacancies. It shall send the final report to the ministry within 90 days of its constitution.
Appointments and hiring in all vacant posts and programs in all government posts will be halted until the end of the current fiscal year.
Any excess staff in other government departments will be utilized on rotation basis to fill vacancies.
In case of urgency to make any appointments in certain posts, the case shall be presented to the King and the Cabinet will examine it after the approval of the general budget.
The Cabinet also decided not to hire any non-Saudis or renew or extend their contract in non-essential sectors until the end of the current fiscal year.
The Cabinet will examine whether to continue it after the approval of the general budget.
Source: Saudi Gazette 

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