As we have mentioned in our previous article, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is having discussions to increase the fuel prices in 2017 to compensate or balance out its economic deficit. The rise in gasoline and diesel prices will be announced real soon but there are some rumors circulating on the social media regarding this issue. Everyone is eyeing on this news and spreading whatever they think or assume. To clarify the issue, Khalid Al Falah who is the Saudi minister of Energy, Industrial and mineral resources carried out a press conference. In this press conference, which was held on 22nd December 2016, he revealed the Kingdom’s budget for 2017 in Riyadh.[irp]
There is an image circulating in the social media claiming that people who used to get SR 100 will be receiving SR 380 electricity bill. The bill would increase from SR 200 to SR 570 and so on. You can read the details in the attached image. However, on Thursday, the Minister denied of all the rumors circulating on the social media regarding government lifting off the subsidies. All the residents of Saudi Arabia would take a sigh of relief with this. It could have been a great blow on the monthly expense had the Saudi Government lifted subsidy on the electricity.
There is going to be a cash transfer program to compensate the families. The families need to register before 1st February 2017 and the payments will begin from June 2017 onwards. According to the fiscal balance program, all the eligible families or beneficiaries will receive their amount before the implementation of new prices. The Minister mentioned that the subsidies will be lifted when a new program is launched. This program is named as “Unified Citizen Account” which is a new step to guide Saudis to face the consequences of an increase in energy prices and find a way out without getting much influenced.
Previously the use of subsidy was to limit the rise in prices and make it affordable for everyone. This program serves as a cushion effect for the Saudi citizens from the energy price rise. For this, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development will cooperate with the banks, authority for Statistics and Ministry of civil services. This Unified Citizen Account Program is a support for all the citizens, stores, companies, factories and residents in Saudi Arabia. It does not matter be it for employees of the public or private sector.[irp]
The budget announced on Thursday is approved by the Saudi cabinet with Salman bin Abdulaziz, the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, being its leader. It shows the progress made to repair the public finances by altering oil prices. The King promised that the budget and reforms made will have a positive outcome and will contribute to the development of a strong economy for the Kingdom. Saudis are looking forward to the implementation of this program as it will serve as a major tool in economic transformation.
Source: Arab News