The government is running a so-called Saudi campaign to increase the proportion of Saudis in the workforce and limit foreigners to one-fifth of the country’s residents. Some occupations are closed to guest workers, and employers are required to have a certain proportion of Saudis among the employees as well as pay a tax for foreign employees. However, large wage differences mean that companies are unwilling to replace cheap foreign labor with more expensive domestic.
In 2013, tougher rules were introduced for migrant workers to prepare more jobs for the Saudis themselves. For six months, an amnesty applied when the opportunity was offered to arrange a residence permit or leave the country without the risk of punishment. Around one million migrants returned to their home countries during the period. The following months, around 250,000 people were expelled, many of them Ethiopians. These had largely come to Saudi Arabia via Yemen, without paper. Paperless people who remained in Saudi Arabia risked high fines and imprisonment.
Taxes have also made it less profitable for guest workers, whose numbers have continued to decline. At the end of 2016, there were just over 8.5 million guest workers in the country. By mid-2019, the number had dropped to a good level below 7 million.
The extensive labor migration that began in the 1970s has played a crucial role in Saudi Arabia’s rapid development. A large majority of those who physically build up the country have come from countries in Asia such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, as well as neighboring countries in the Arab world or North and East Africa.
Migrant workers live under harsh conditions and sometimes slave-like conditions. Hundreds of thousands of women working as maids are particularly at risk. Previously, they were not covered by labor law rules. Since 2013, however, they are formally entitled to a maximum of 15 hours of work per day, six days of work week and one month’s vacation every other year.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of Saudi Arabia, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.
Unemployment is waiting for many of the large Saudi youth who come to the labor market every year. Many are college educated but lack the required skills, such as technical know-how, and government employment is not enough for everyone. Officially, unemployment is set at 5-6 percent, but the real figure is believed to be close to one-third.
Women make up just under 15 percent of the workforce, but the proportion is increasing. In October 2018, when the country’s third largest bank was formed through a merger, it was reported that Saudi Arabia would get its first female bank manager. Several occupations were opened the same year for women, including air traffic control and passport control.
All kinds of trade union activities are prohibited in Saudi Arabia.
FACTS – LABOR MARKET
5.9 percent (2019)
25.5 percent (2019)
From luxury arrests to ministerial posts – the government is reformed
King Salman reforms the government. The new foreign minister will be Ibrahim al-Assaf, who was arrested last year in a luxury hotel on a strike that was said to be rooted in corruption charges. The finance and energy ministers may remain in place despite the deterioration of the economy. On several items related to security issues, there will be exchanges, but the Crown Prince’s power does not appear to be limited by the changes. On the contrary, judges see several of the newly appointed as Crown Prince’s confidants.
Six years of deficit in the state budget
The government proposes a budget with a deficit for 2019, when oil prices are not expected to rise. The expenditure in the budget is the largest in the country’s history. Deficits have characterized the state budget since oil prices plunged in 2014, and the government has gone in to find new sources of revenue. But the state must still use reserves and also raise loans to cover the entire deficit. The goal is for central government finances to be in balance by 2023.
Competition from US oil production
Saudi Arabia and ten other oil countries, including Russia, agreed to reduce oil production from January 2019 in an attempt to halt the fall in crude oil prices. The decision is made despite US President Trump pushing for the cranes to remain open and prices low. The week before, for the first time in decades, the United States, which is not part of the Opec cooperative, has been a net exporter of crude oil. US extraction of shale oil has become so extensive that it gives major producers like Saudi Arabia competition.
Protests against Crown Prince on the move
Crown Prince Mohammed made a round trip to several Arab countries and also participated in an economic summit in Argentina – his first foreign policy initiative since it became known that one of his critics had been murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul (see October 2 and November 15). The reception has been metered. In Tunisia, the Crown Prince was met by demonstrations, in Algeria by open criticism from politicians and intellectuals.
Five are threatened with death penalty for consulate murder
The Saudi Prosecutor’s Office is prosecuting eleven people for involvement in the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and will demand the death penalty for five of them. The cause of death was an injection, an overdose of sedative, it is stated in a communication. A former head of the intelligence service is identified as responsible. Turkey wants an international investigation to investigate the murder. The US faces sanctions against 17 people. CIA intelligence sources state a few days later that the CIA has concluded that the murder was ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince.
General at the US ambassador’s chair
The long-vacant post as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia will be filled by John Abizaid, retired general as well as several other people whom President Trump has selected for key posts. Abizaid has war experience from Iraq and wrote a paper at Harvard University on Saudi governance. The appointment must be approved by the United States Senate.
Neighboring cooperation will close gas deal for Qatar
The two largest energy companies in the Arab world, Saudi Aramco and Emirate Adnoc, conclude agreements on technology exchange and cooperation in the natural gas market. Both companies are state-owned. The United Arab Emirates has decided on a five-year investment plan, which will make the emirate self-sufficient on gas and, by extension, to the exporter. Currently, the emirate imports gas from Qatar via pipeline. Imports have continued despite Qatar being subject to boycotts and isolation policy from neighboring countries for over a year.
Visible King seeks support
King Salman embarks on a kind of Eriksgata, a tour of the kingdom in the style of Swedish regents – but such a tour is unusual for a Saudi monarch. The murder of a journalist at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has led to a crisis described as Saudi Arabia’s worst since the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, when it turned out that almost all perpetrators were Saudi. The Royal House is now in the process of building up domestic support. Salman has also reintroduced the state employees’ annual bonuses, which were abolished in 2016 as a result of reduced oil revenues.
Release sign that the crown prince is being squeezed
Prince Khalid bin Talal is released after being detained for almost a year. He was arrested after criticizing an action when wealthy people were placed in a luxury house arrest at a hotel (see November 4, 2017). The prince is the brother of billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, who is reported to have paid dearly for being released from the hotel arrest in January. The mass house arrest at the luxury hotel was interpreted as a way for Crown Prince Mohammed to harm rivals over power. That Prince Khalid is now released in connection with all international criticism directed at the Crown Prince after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – if the Crown Prince, and the King, are to successfully ride out the storm, then they need the support of the family.
Crisis management in Saudi royal house
While Saudi Arabia continues to be silent about how journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkish authorities claim he was strangled. One sign that the Saudi royal house is engaged in crisis management is that Prince Ahmad bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud has returned home from exile in London. He is the brother of King Salman and has made statements in exile that indicate that he dislikes the king’s and not least the crown prince’s way of ruling the country. Before the crown prince’s almost single government, a rather large layer of Saudi princes was involved in political decisions.
The United States wants to see peace talks on Yemen
The United States calls on the parties to the Yemen conflict to begin negotiations within a month. The initiative is being taken at the same time as Saudi Arabia sends troops reinforcements to Yemen for a new offensive against the port city of al-Hudayda, but it is seen in light of the fact that US’s close relations with Saudi Arabia are being questioned. In the United States, criticism has woken up after Saudi authorities’ assassination of regime critic Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. Defense Minister Jim Mattis proposes that Yemen negotiations should take place in Sweden.
Protest against execution of guest workers
Tuti Tursilawati from Indonesia is executed seven years after being convicted of murdering his employer. Indonesia submits a protest note that neither the homeland nor its relatives were notified. The Indonesian herself claimed that she took the life of the employer in self-defense because she was subjected to a rape attempt. In 2015, when two Indonesian domestic workers were executed in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia put a stop to new guest worker contracts in 21 countries in the Middle East. The rules have recently been softened, but may now be tightened again.
Crown Prince swears free from murder charge
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is publicly speaking for the first time about Jamal Khashoggi’s death. He refrains from the murder and says that the guilty should be punished – but he does not comment on how such an incident could have occurred without his knowledge. He also claims that he does not believe that relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey will be damaged. President Erdoğan, who has described Khashoggi’s death in Istanbul as a plot, is on the phone with the Crown Prince. No possible agreements are made public. On the other hand, the US security service CIA has been given access to evidence, reports the Turkish newspaper Sabah.
Sharp reactions to journalist murder
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims that Jamal Khashoggi was subjected to a planned political murder when he met the death of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Erdoğan demands that the suspects be tried before a court in Turkey – but he chooses not to accuse the Saudi Crown Prince. The president also does not include details of the assassination that the Turkish authorities let the media know about; it is not yet clear how the authorities can know so much about what happened inside the consulate. The United States compiles a list of 21 Saudis who either get a visa revoked or will be denied a visa. In Saudi Arabia, an investor meeting begins, but many international representatives – both politicians and business leaders – are missing out on the murder.
PR for Saudi Arabia in the US under scrutiny
Following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, where the Saudi government has admitted responsibility, at least four of Washington’s lobbying firms are ending their cooperation with Saudi clients. Lobbyists, who in many cases have themselves been politicians, help clients influence political decision-makers. Since the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, when most of the perpetrators were Saudis, Saudi rulers have spent large sums on creating a better picture of Saudi Arabia in the United States. Among other things, it has been about counteracting criticism of how Saudi Arabia for war in Yemen. Even think tanks – institutes with researchers and analysts – who have previously received sponsorship money have begun to rethink their connections with influential Saudis.
Germany slows arms exports to Saudi Arabia
Germany is suspending its planned arms exports to Saudi Arabia for the time being. The reason is the death of regime critic Jamal Khashoggi in unclear circumstances. Recently, Germany approved exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia worth € 416 million in 2018, about SEK 4.5 billion. Exports to Saudi Arabia have mainly included patrol boats. Several countries follow Germany in the tracks in the autumn and stop arms deals.
Reform Prince employed by murder charges
The Saudi government admits that journalist Jamal Khashoggi met the death of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. 18 people are arrested and two linked to the country’s mighty crown prince, who by many outside Saudi Arabia is suspected of having ordered the murder, gets fired. The explanation for Khashoggi’s death given – that there was a fatal fight at the consulate – persuades few. The incident has led to a political crisis for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has given the appearance of wanting to democratize the country. The crisis also employs US President Trump, who has so far regarded the Crown Prince as a key figure in US-Saudi relations, where both oil business and cooperation with Iran are given high priority.
Shuttle diplomacy on presumed death torment
Saudi Arabia has pledged $ 100 million to US stabilization efforts in Syria (see August 16). It reports on US media while Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo visits the Saudi King and Crown Prince for a meeting on journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is suspected of being murdered for his criticism of the royal house (see October 2). In the US, politicians in both major parties demand clearer moral action against Saudi Arabia and President Trump is criticized for statements about how valuable arms deals with Saudi Arabia are for US industry. Pompeo also visits the president of Turkey, where authorities claim that Khashoggi was tortured to death and forensic technicians search the Saudi consul’s residence.
Disappeared after being released
The case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, causes another disappearance to be noticed by the newspaper Le Monde: in 2015, the Saudi Turki bin Bandar bin Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman Al Saud disappeared after being released from Morocco. He had sought asylum in France. Moroccan authorities claim that it was an ordinary extradition procedure based on suspicions of crime and tried in court.
Silence surrounds the arrest of journalists
At least 15 named journalists and bloggers have been jailed in Saudi Arabia over the past year, Reporters Without Borders reports. In most cases, the arrests have not been officially confirmed and it has not emerged where the people are being held captive. In total, up to 30 journalists are believed to be deprived of liberty.
Saudis are suspected of disappearance
One week after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish authorities are working to identify 15 travelers from Saudi Arabia, who were at the consulate in Istanbul when he disappeared. The investigators suspect that the travelers were a murder command issued by the state and took pictures from the consulate’s surveillance cameras as they left the country. Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom demand that Saudi Arabia explain what has happened to the regime critic Khashoggi (see October 2).
Saudi Arabia benefits from sanctions against Iran
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Iran’s economy will shrink by 1.5 percent in 2018 and 3.6 percent in 2019. The reason is the US’s reintroduced severe sanctions. Before President Trump made his decision in May, the IMF projected 4 percent annual growth for Iran. According to the IMF, Iran’s race will also bring down the growth figures for other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The exceptions are Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which benefit from the imposition of sanctions on another major oil exporter. The oil accounts for 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s revenue and the IMF estimates that the Saudi economy will grow by 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent in 2019.
Woman becomes bank director
Saudi Arabia gets its first female bank manager in Lubna Al Olayan. The US-trained economist, who becomes director when two banking companies are merged, has previously led a family-owned business group. According to the BBC, the new bank she is to lead becomes the third largest. Prior to her appointment, she topped Forbes magazine’s list of the most powerful women in the Middle East.
Journalist disappears at consulate
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi is as engulfed by the earth after a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Khashoggi lives in exile in the United States and co-operates in the Washington Post since he became disillusioned with the powerful Crown Prince and criticized Saudi Arabia’s warfare in Yemen. He went to the consulate to get a document he needed as a private person, but has been reported missing by his Turkish fiancee. The Turkish Foreign Ministry calls the Saudi ambassador for an explanation.
Visits for tourists
In December, in conjunction with a motor competition, Saudi Arabia will begin issuing visas to tourists who want to see sports events on site, the country’s sports board announces. It is a new phenomenon, but is part of the Kingdom’s vision to attract tourists in a future with less oil revenue. So far, most visitors and pilgrims have been granted visas.
Fast train between holy places
King Salman inaugurates the highway line between Mecca and Medina. The al-Haramayn line (“The two holy places”) connects the two cities with the port city of Jeddah on the Red Sea, a distance of 45 kilometers, which will now be completed in two hours. A Spanish consortium has been responsible for the construction and now has a twelve-year maintenance contract. Construction of a subway network is underway in the capital Riyadh.
Circus a sign of thaw in Canada contacts?
Despite an ongoing diplomatic rally between Riyadh and Ottawa, the Canadian-based circus Cirque du Soleil is performing for the first time in the country, on Saudi National Day (see August 6). Otherwise, the day is celebrated with, among other things, light shows. At the beginning of the year, a government agency announced that Saudi Arabia will carry out twice as many events – for example, concerts – in 2018 as the year before, which is seen as an element of the Crown Prince’s ongoing liberalization of the country.
Woman wins in court against father
A 24-year-old woman in Jeddah has been tried in court against her father who refused to arrange a passport for her. The woman wants to study abroad, but her father, as guardian of her, said no. The 24-year-old has lived with his mother for ten years and has not met his father in six years, reports media, among them the government-friendly newspaper Okaz. The case has aroused great interest. “If women could apply for a passport themselves, courts would not have to deal with such cases,” writes a twitter.
Saudi financing is being sought for a new silk road
Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited Saudi Arabia – the usual first destination for the country’s head of government. Khan has invited the Saudis to participate in one of China’s new “silk road projects”, in this case transport routes between Xinjiang in western China and the coast of Pakistan towards the Indian Ocean. Pakistan has financial problems, including difficult to repay loans from China, and both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are planning investments and loans to Pakistan. A few weeks after Khan’s visit, it is announced that oil giant Aramco will invest in the deep-sea project Gwadar, a venture that is valued at $ 10 billion in early 2019.
Loans to support new technology
The state-owned Saudi investment fund has entered the international loan market for the first time. The fund borrows $ 11 billion. The long-term aim is for the Fund to be able to finance technology investments with the aim of reducing Saudi Arabia’s oil dependency. A new venture is announced on the same day: a billion investment in American electric car manufacturer Lucid, which competes with more prominent Tesla. The intention was from the beginning that the fund would strengthen its finances by listing the oil company Aramco, but the stock exchange listing was canceled. In the past, when the oil price has fallen, the Saudi government has taken out loans to cover its budget deficit.
Spain falters on arms deal
Negotiations have been ongoing between Spain and Saudi Arabia for a 2015 arms deal criticized as a result of the Saudi war in Yemen. After announcing that the 400 ordered laser-guided bombs would not be delivered, Spain changes again: the contract will be fulfilled. Big deals for the Spanish defense industry are at stake. If Saudi Arabia withdraws an order for five warships from state-owned Navantia, 6,000 Spanish shipyards are threatened. Spanish engineering companies are also part of a fast train line between Mecca and Medina and the metro in Riyadh.
UN: War crimes in Yemen
UN investigators have concluded that there have been war actions in Yemen that could be classed as war crimes. Both the Saudi-led military alliance and the Yemeni Huthirbele have been abused, according to the expert group appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council 2017. For Saudi Arabia, in particular, this is due to a lack of regard for civilians who are in war zones. There is a secret list of designated offenders so far. According to the UN, 6,660 civilians have lost their lives since the outbreak of the war in spring 2015. In total, the war has claimed almost 10,000 lives. Saudi Arabia rejects the charges.
Saudi Arabia fills the US Syria account
Saudi Arabia pledges $ 100 million to US for stabilization efforts in Syria. The money will be used in areas exempt from the Islamic State (IS), the US Department of Foreign Affairs writes. Altogether, according to Reuters, the US gets around 300 million from allied countries, including the United Arab Emirates and EU countries such as Germany, France and Denmark. Subsequently, the United States announces that $ 230 million allocated for operations in Syria will now be diverted to other, unspecified projects
Environmental initiatives under shark
The pilgrimage is in progress and pilgrims visiting Mecca to celebrate the great sacrifice, id al-adha, are meeting this year by an environmental initiative. To reduce the pressure on the environment by more than two million visitors, the city’s cleaning department has started to sort out garbage. Cans and plastic are separated from other garbage. Sorted materials must be sold to recycling companies. The goal is to reduce waste volumes by two-thirds by 2030. This year, 13,000 people have been employed for cleaning work at pilgrimage sites and pilgrimage camps.
Criticism of the arrests triggers diplomatic dissent
Canada’s ambassador is undesirable in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi ambassador to Canada is called home. The reason is that Canada has criticized the arrest of Samar Badawi and other regime critics, who according to the Saudi Foreign Ministry are perceived as interfering in the country’s internal affairs. New trade agreements will also not be given a clear sign.
Women’s rights activists arrested
Women’s rights activists Samar Badawi and Nasima al-Sadah were arrested in late July, Human Rights Watch reports. Samar Badawi – Awarded by the US State Department – is the sister of incarcerated democracy blogger Raif Badawi and ex-wife of activist Walid Abu al-Khair, who is also in prison. In particular, Samar Badawi has been known to counteract the Saudi system’s claim that women should be guarded. In the fall of 2018, several human rights organizations claim that women who are being held captive are also subjected to torture and sexual abuse.
Royal Grace for Yemeni warriors
Saudi Arabia, by royal decree, pays tribute to all military personnel who participated in the military operation in Yemen, where Saudis are fighting the Shiites against the government. The mercy decision, published via the SPA news agency, does not specify the crimes committed by Saudi soldiers or how many of them are involved.
Women behind the wheel, even at taxi companies
Joy scenes take place when women start to drive a car with permission. The Ministry of the Interior states that 120 | 000 women have applied for a driver’s license, but does not indicate how many driver’s licenses have been issued. Nearly a dozen women have jobs as professional drivers already on the first day, a taxi company announces. But at least nine women who participated in the campaign for women’s right to drive are still arrested. According to the state news agency SPA, they are accused of endangering state security.
Female drivers receive legal protection against harassment
Ten women who have previously had driving licenses from other countries have received Saudi driving licenses. The Ministry of Information estimates that around 2,000 women will have Saudi driving licenses within a week. Applicants must, according to the official news agency SPA, demonstrate their skills through a driving test. As one of the preparations for women to start driving on public roads on June 24, a law against sexual harassment has been adopted. Anyone sentenced under the law can receive five years in prison and fines.
Art buyers become Minister of Culture
The government is being reformed, the second major change of the ministry since the new Crown Prince was appointed. The Minister of Labor, the Minister of Culture and the Minister responsible for Religious Affairs are now being replaced. The Minister of Culture will be Prince Badr bin Abdullah, who was recently paired with a purchase of a Leonardo da Vinci painting, noted among other things because the work has a Jesus motif. Saudi Arabia has stricter laws against other Muslim countries against religious practices other than Islam, but the Saudis also have ecumenical contacts.
Women’s rights activists are arrested
Seven leading women’s rights activists have been arrested on unclear grounds just weeks before the ban on women driving a car expires on June 24. In the coming weeks, some more are being seized. According to Human Rights Watch, several of the women have previously supported a request that Saudi Arabia abolish the requirement that women have a male guardian. Today, women have the right to start a business, but it is seen as empty symbolism unless the guardianship rules are abolished.
Iran is threatened after a robot attack
The Saudi-led military alliance threatens retaliation against Iran, which is accused of being behind the robots fired from Yemen this weekend. Wrecks shown at a press conference are said to have been smuggled into Yemen from Iran. The government of Tehran has repeatedly denied that it is supplying weapons to the huhirebells.
Robots from Yemen shot down
The military claims to have shot down seven robots that the Huthirbells fired on Saudi territory, on the three-year anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen. Three robots were fired at Riyadh, where one person was killed by falling fragments, and the others against cities in southern Saudi Arabia. The Huthis have been firing dozens of robots against Saudi Arabia for months.
Accusations of war crimes in Yemen
Saudi Arabia and its allies are behind a large number of potential war crimes in Yemen recently, writes Amnesty International. The human rights organization criticizes the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Italy for assisting with arms sales for billions to the Saudi-led alliance. The consequences for the civilian population of Yemen are very serious, it says. Amnesty also accuses the Huthira rebels of war crimes. Three years have passed since Saudi Arabia and a number of other states launched air strikes against the Huthirbells, after they ousted the Yemeni government. Nearly 10,000 have since been killed in a conflict that, according to the UN, has caused the world’s most severe humanitarian crisis.
Military commanders kicked
King Salman cleans up several leading military, including the chief of staff and the commanders of the ground forces and the air force. The official news agency SPA reports on the dismissals but gives no reason. Crown Prince Salman, who is also Minister of Defense, is believed to be behind both this and earlier furnishings in the country’s leadership.
Women get the right start a business
In yet another step towards increased freedom and rights, women are given the right to start a business without the permission of a male relative. The message comes from the country’s Ministry of Trade and Investment.
Rushing when women are allowed to apply for airport jobs
The Saudi passport authority reports that 107,000 women applied for a job in a week, following an advertisement for 140 jobs at passport checks. The authority expresses some surprise at the interest.
Billion amount to the state after corruption corruption
30th of January
According to the state prosecutor, the state has received $ 107 billion in the ongoing major anti-corruption effort (see November 4, 2017). According to the prosecutor, 381 suspects have either been released from suspicion or agreed to surrender assets after pleading guilty. Among other things, a few days ago Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest and most well-known people of the kingdom, was released. Upon release, the prince says he has not been charged and he expresses his support for Crown Prince Mohammed. The Prosecutor General states that 56 people are still in custody and that they will be moved to a detention center from the Ritz Carlton as the hotels will soon open to the public again.
Humanitarian aid to Yemen
The Saudi-led military alliance that fights against the Yirehirbel in Yemen promises $ 1.5 billion in humanitarian aid. The message comes since the UN appealed for close to $ 3 billion to the war-torn country, which is said to be a record sum in this context.
Billion support to the Yemeni government
Saudi Arabia announces $ 2 billion to be transferred to Yemen whose government is desperately pleading for aid. The money will help support the Yemeni currency that collapsed during the now three-year war. Yemen’s central bank has been in Aden since 2016, as the capital Sanaa is controlled by the huhirebells.
Protesting princes are arrested
7 th of January
The prosecutor confirms earlier media reports that eleven princes have been arrested after conducting a public protest outside a palace in Riyadh. The protest was mainly aimed at the members of the royal family starting to pay their own water and electricity bills. The princes also demand compensation for their cousin being sentenced to death for murder and executed in 2016.
New benefits for citizens
In order to alleviate the effect of rising fuel prices and the VAT just introduced, a contribution of just over $ 260 a month is promised for government employees and military. Study grants are also raised, soldiers at the border with Yemen receive an extra bonus and the state promises to pay part of the tax on citizens’ first housing.
VAT is introduced
VAT on goods is introduced from the beginning of the New Year, in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates simultaneously. It is the first time VAT is introduced in any of the Gulf states. There will be 5 percent VAT on fuel, food, electricity and water, hotel stays, etc. Some exceptions to the tax, such as medical services, financial services and public transport. There is no plan to introduce income tax. But in Saudi Arabia, gasoline prices are also raised by up to 127 percent, something that has not been announced in advance.