‘Citizen Account Program’ to help Saudis face economic changes

Updated 13 December 2017
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‘Citizen Account Program’ to help Saudis face economic changes

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor and Social Development announced the details of the Citizen Account Program to help low- and middle-income families cope with the changes happening as a result of the coming economic reforms.

The Citizen Account Program is a national program created to protect Saudi households from expected direct and indirect impacts of the various economic reforms. The support is offered through direct cash transfers to beneficiaries.

With a view to reorienting government benefits to a deserving population segment in a manner that promotes and ensures rational consumption, the main aims of this program are to improve the level of services provided to citizens; raise the efficiency of government spending and operation; and target deserving citizens more transparently and effectively.

The support compensates for the increase in prices as a result of the correction in electricity and gasoline prices, and the application of VAT on food and beverage commodities.

These allowances will be reviewed every three months to ensure that the amount of the benefit meets the requirements of the households according to the changes.

The program’s policies stipulate that the beneficiary should be a Saudi citizen, that the beneficiary is not residing in any of the government shelters or prisons, and that the data given on the registration form should be consistent with that of the relevant authorities.

According to the general manager of the Citizen Account Program, Ali Rajehi, the amount of the supporting allowance is based on the composition of the family and the number of members, age of the dependents, and the family’s income.

The amount of support to beneficiaries will vary according to the changing economic conditions of the household. There are some factors that will affect the amount of support, such as the change in world oil prices and their impact on locally applied prices.

According to Minister of Labor Ali bin Nasser Ghafis, there are more than 13 million beneficiaries registered in the Citizen Account. The first deposit to the citizens’ accounts will be made starting December 21, 2017, and will be accompanied by the announcement of the amounts and other details.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-ti
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”