October 31 – DUBAI: Ibrahim Al Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister has been relieved of his post on royal orders. However, he will remain in the cabinet as a minister of state, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday, October 31.
Al Assaf, 67, has served as the finance minister for 20 years, having been appointed to the post in 1996.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz appointed Mohammed Al Jedaan to replace Al Assaf. Al Jedaan is the head of Saudi Financial Market (Tadawul).
King Salman also ordered salary cuts for Saudi ministers and Shura Council members on Monday, alongside freezing some of their financial privileges.
According to the royal decree, a minister’s salary will be cut by 20 percent. Bonuses for Shura Council members will be cut by 15 percent, whereas annual aid allowance given to Shura Council members for housing and furniture will be cut by 15 percent. In addition, transportation expenses for Shura Council members will see a 15 percent cut.
The royal decree also states that all car services provided to top officials will be halted until the end of the financial hijri year 1438/1439.
According to the decree, all ministers are to pay for their own telecommunication expenses.
The step signals an attempt by Saudi Arabia to cut costs among a decline in global oil prices and oil revenues. Oil prices (Brent) were trading at 2.8 percent lower late Monday at $48.32/barrel after a Reuters survey showed OPEC’s output had a rebound up to 33.82 million barrels/day from 33.69 million barrels/day, following a recap from Nigeria and Libya’s output.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, Saudi armed forces members who are fighting at the southern front as well as Saudi security personnel serving the country abroad, be it on intelligence, security or military missions, will continue to receive their annual bonuses for the hijri year 1438, in exception to a former decree that was published on 25/12/1437 of the Hijri calendar, and which froze all annual bonuses for public servants.