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Saudi Arabia Will Give Cash to Poorer Citizens Hit by Austerity

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Saudi Arabia will begin cash transfers to low- and middle-income citizens this month, part of efforts to cushion the blow for families as the kingdom overhauls its oil-dependent economy.

Monthly cash payments will start on Dec. 21 to compensate Saudis affected by measures including subsidy cuts and new taxes, officials said Tuesday. The cabinet approved the so-called Citizen’s Account program, which will be reviewed quarterly, at the same time it ratified changes to the prices of fuel and electricity, planned for the first quarter next year.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading the push to reduce Saudi Arabia’s addiction to oil, but many of the reforms he’s implemented have hit the wallets of Saudis. The Citizen’s Account is designed to offset those measures with extra cash for those who need it most. A smooth roll-out is key in a country where the social contract has been built on an exchange of government largess for political loyalty.

Implementation will “impact the government’s popularity among Saudi citizens,” said Raphaele Auberty, Middle East and North Africa country risk analyst at BMI Research. “If the program is not perceived as fair, we could see signs of popular discontent.”

Failing to reach the most vulnerable could hurt economic growth, but overly generous transfers might burden government finances, Auberty said.

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More than 3.7 million households registered, representing 13 million people — more than half of the population, Ali Rajhi, general manager of the program, said Tuesday. Officials did not answer questions about how many people were eligible to receive payments, saying only that it was less than the total registered. The amount disbursed to each household will depend on family size and income, with more information to be released later, Rajhi said.

Those found ineligible or who are unhappy with the amounts they’ve been allocated can appeal, he said.

“Given how soon the program is to start, it is surprising more details were not made available,” said Raza Agha, chief Middle East and North Africa economist at VTB Capital Plc. “This information is important to get a sense of the program’s fiscal cost.”

Agha estimated that if 3.7 million households were to receive benefits of around 1,200 riyals a month for a family of six, the bill could be around 2 percent of economic output.

It’s possible the benefits will be less generous than expected, because the government’s aim to balance its budget by 2020 is being revised with an extended timeline, said Jean-Michel Saliba, a London-based economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“If the fiscal balance program is less forceful in terms of changes, then they may need to compensate people less,” he said.

Saudi Arabia plans to adjust gasoline, electricity and jet fuel prices in the first quarter, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Gasoline prices will increase by about 80 percent, while jet fuel prices will be raised to international levels in one go, with the changes planned for January, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.


23 Comments on "Saudi Arabia Will Give Cash to Poorer Citizens Hit by Austerity"

  1. Makati1 on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 5:53 pm 

    More welfare to keep the serfs from sharpening their swords and beheading the princes … for now. They are adopting the same methods used by the US. Welfare/SNAP/etc. When the dole ends … CHOP!

  2. Boat on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 7:48 pm 


    If you read about the Saudi poor you would would know they are getting net cuts in subsidies. Sigh.

  3. Sissyfuss on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 9:26 pm 

    They did get a massive influx of cash by arresting and then fleecing many higher-ups in the kingdom. OMG, they’ve gone socialist!

  4. GregT on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 9:38 pm 


    Resistance is futile.

  5. Makati1 on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 9:53 pm 

    Boat, pluses in one place, minus in another can equal more. You don’t really think they are being cut do you? Not logical. But then, maybe your sources for info is the USMSM Propaganda department?

  6. MASTERMIND on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 10:01 pm 

    WORLD ECONOMIES IN TROUBLE: Middle East Oil Exports Lower Than 40 Years Ago

    Saudi Arabia may be out of oil to export by 2030 – Citibank

    Saudi Aramco CEO believes oil shortage coming despite U.S. shale boom

    Saudi Arabian oil reserves are overstated by 40% – Wikileaks

  7. peakyeast on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 10:03 pm 

    Next Year they will have 700.000 more mouths to feed.

    Good luck with doing that in the desert when the oil revenues are gone.

    I suppose they will have to wage a few wars to grab or control some new land.

  8. Makati1 on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 10:14 pm 

    I understand that Yemen has a lot of undeveloped oil. Could THAT be the reason for the ‘war’?

  9. Makati1 on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 10:19 pm 

    “Now that it has been established beyond doubt that Jawf, (northern Yemeni province located directly south of Saudi Arabia is home to large reserves of both oil and gas, politicians have been keen to warn against Saudi greed in relation to Yemen’s riches.” (2014)

    “Sixty-three percent of Yemen’s crude production is being stolen by Saudi Arabia in cooperation with Mansour Hadi, the fugitive Yemeni president, and his mercenaries.” (2017)

    Desperation leads to war…

  10. Cloggie on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 10:49 pm 

    “I understand that Yemen has a lot of undeveloped oil. Could THAT be the reason for the ‘war’?”

    Since the 2003 neocon “masterstroke” (who said that the koshers are smart?), poor KSA is surrounded by Iranian proxies: Syria, Eyeraq, Yemen, Qatar. When these “princess” will be toppled, the ME will be owned by Erdogan and the Mullahs and white face, including the Israelies, will be sent packing and the multi-polar world can begin in all earnest.

  11. Makati1 on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 11:36 pm 

    You could be correct, Cloggie. It sure looks like that is the end result. It may take a new ME war to accomplish it though. We shall see.

  12. Makati1 on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 1:20 am 

    America, you’re next… “A new investigative report reveals that hundreds of Saudi and Kuwaiti nationals residing in the United States — some with dual citizenship, and most students subsisting on government scholarships — have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq during the past three years. …

    Titled “From American Campuses to ISIS Camps: How Hundreds of Saudis Joined ISIS in the U.S.,” the report — released June 1 by the Washington-D.C.-based think tank, The Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA) — provides details of the flow of students leaving American institutions of higher learning to fight in the Middle East….

    The number of Saudi students in the United States in 2016 reached 125,000, the “most in the world,” according to a June 14 Arab News report. Those who leave to join a terrorist group and subsequently return — enabled by their U.S. citizenship, combined with lax monitoring of and leniency with them — present a clear and present danger to America’s home front.”

    “As then-FBI director James B. Comey said during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in September 2014: “Foreign fighters traveling to Syria or Iraq could… gain battlefield experience and increased exposure to violent extremist elements… they may use these skills and exposure to radical ideology to return to their countries of origin, including the United States, to conduct attacks on the Homeland.””

    Doesn’t sound good, America. How many “shooters” are walking the streets of the US? No one knows, but they may be in the thousands. Do you wear a bullet proof vest when you shop? I would. lol

  13. Davy on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 3:07 am 

    “Doesn’t sound good, America. How many “shooters” are walking the streets of the US? No one knows, but they may be in the thousands. Do you wear a bullet proof vest when you shop? I would. Lol”

    “Why Another Philippines Terrorist Attack Is Coming”
    “Another Marawi-like siege is likely to occur.”

  14. Makati1 on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 3:55 am 

    Funny, Davy. In the time frame of the last 5 big shooting events in the US, ZERO happened here. ZERO. The US shipped them (ISIS) in to cause trouble and the Philip[pine Army has killed them off. Now China and Russia are helping to rebuild the city. And, it is 600 miles away from Manila, across a lot of ocean. I’m a lot safer than you are, living about 100 miles from St.Louis.

    “U.S. has already suffered 273 mass shootings in 2017—and you likely didn’t hear about all of them”

    You might want to take a look at the map on that site. lol

    Or: “Terrorist attacks and related incidents in the United States” last updated 7 December 2017

    You might want to scroll down the list to 2017…and see the change. UP! UP! And AWAY! LOL

    BTW: I don’t bother with “tiny” sites as I do not know who they are before opening and I do not open unidentified sites.

  15. Davy on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 4:16 am 

    Mad kat, you have a problem TOO but you act as if only the US does. Quit running from reality.

  16. Makati1 on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 4:20 am 

    Davy, you are the one running. You are like the alcoholic that wants everyone else to be alcoholics because it makes you fell better. Sorry. You can keep saying that but you do not live here, have never been to Asia, and have zero knowledge of Asia except what you read, which is likely mostly US MSM sites.

  17. Davy on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 4:30 am 

    I guess I will have to say the same thing over again because the old man didn’t get my drift:

    Mad kat, you have a problem TOO but you act as if only the US does. Quit running from reality.

  18. Makati1 on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 5:22 am 

    Davy, saying a million times does NOT make it true. You are delusional, old man. LMAO

  19. Davy on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 5:32 am 

    mad kat, I thought I was on your ignore list. Did I neuter your enough that you started whining? LMFAO

  20. Shortend on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 7:02 am 

    Got to keep the rabble feed….for now…make it a slow take away….until they are powerless…now to see if another Leonardo da Vinci is up for auction and make another investment

  21. Makati1 on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 7:26 am 

    Davy, are you losing your mind? That is about he 6th time in the last week that you said that same thing. Running out of putdowns? Those drugs clouding your mind? Seems so. Get help.

  22. joe on Thu, 14th Dec 2017 9:05 am 

    Cash for the plebs to keep them quiet during the transition from rule by plutocrats to rule by tyranny. Bedoin culture demands these payments, the new guy has to show he mind his flock like a good shepard does his lambs. MBS is the next Saddam or Qadaffi, already he has copied Saddam love of torturing his family. All that money will go down the drain of corruption and pork, they will blame the Shia Arabs for their failures and attempt genocide against them.

  23. Cloggie on Sat, 16th Dec 2017 6:01 am 

    Salman, Clouseau, not Machiavelli:

    Syria, Yemen, Qatar failed. Salman made Iran more powerful (with involuntary substantial “world conquering” US aid).

    The idea of a Saudi-Israeli covert alliance against Iran may sound attractive to some Washington think tanks, but does not make much sense on the ground.

    That ridiculous idea will cost MBS the legitimacy in the eyes of every Muslim and could cause the desired downfall of the “House of Saud” and pave the way for a ME, free of western colonial influence, European or American, making the Muslim world a solid pillar of the upcoming identitarian multi-polar world order, where there will be no place for Marxism, neither of the Soviet-Bolshevik nor Anglo-multicultural flavor. Good riddance to them (expect Davy to cry “anti-Americanism!”, “extremism!”.lol).

    It is Saudi Arabia – and not its rivals – that is becoming isolated… by 2015 it was becoming clear that a combination of Sunni states led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey was failing to carry out regime change in Damascus. This powerful grouping has fragmented, with Turkey and Qatar moving closer to the Russian-backed Iranian-led axis… When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called a meeting this week in Istanbul of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to which 57 Muslim states belong, to reject and condemn the US decision on Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia only sent a junior representative to this normally moribund organisation. But other state leaders like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, King Abdullah of Jordan and the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, among many others, were present. They recognised East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and demanded the US reverse its decision.

    I can’t prove it but I suspect that Trump made the dumb move as a concession to the Israel Lobby (“the Swamp”) in Washington, he has challenged so much since the election campaign, in an attempt (no doubt in vain) to ease the pressure on him by said lobby.

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