Saudi budget: Public set to benefit from municipality allocation increase

The government has already announced plans to introduce a new monthly household allowance known as the Citizens Account aimed at providing social welfare to lower-income families. (AN photo by Salman Marzouki)
Updated 20 December 2017
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Saudi budget: Public set to benefit from municipality allocation increase

RIYADH: Saudi business chiefs on Tuesday welcomed the Kingdom’s record budget.
Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) Chairman Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajihi said the spending plans reflected steady improvement in the broader economy.
Citizens are also set to benefit from an allocation of SR53 billion to municipality services, contained in Tuesday’s budget, said CSC Secretary-General Saud Al-Mishari.
That represents an increase of about SR4 billion on the expected spending in 2017, according to budget data released on Tuesday.
The government has already announced plans to introduce a new monthly household allowance known as the Citizen’s Account aimed at providing social welfare to lower-income families.
The budgetary impact will be partially offset by revenue from the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) that comes into force in 2018 as well as other revenue-raising measures.
Ibrahim Al-Quayid, a founding member of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), said: “This is indeed a budget of welfare and prosperity for the people of Saudi Arabia as well as expatriates."
Yesterday’s budget had a strong focus on healthcare, education, social development, infrastructure, housing and transportation, analysts noted.
Mohammad Al-Khunaizi, a senior member of the Shoura Council, said the budget reflected the goals of the country’s economic diversification plan contained in the Vision 2030 as well as the more recent crackdown on corruption.
“I believe that there will be more strict supervision and efficiency in spending money in all government projects now,” he said.
Fahd Al-Sammari, secretary-general of the King Abdul Aziz Research and Archive Center (Darah) said the budget reaffirmed the success of ongoing diversification plans aimed at reducing the Kingdom’s dependence on oil revenues.


Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

Updated 49 min 9 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

  • The ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage
  • Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has created a new webpage for Qataris who wish to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Qatari Hajj pilgrims can register their details, browse packages and pay for them at: https://qh1440.haj.gov.sa

The ministry called on Qatar not to block the webpage as it did previously and “cooperate in order to allow its citizens to perform Hajj easily.”

Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups.

The embargo includes transport restrictions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but the Kingdom has taken measures to ensure pilgrims from Qatar can travel freely for Hajj and Umrah.

The ministry said on Saturday it had taken several steps to ensure pilgrims could enter Saudi Arabia for for Hajj, which starts next month. But the ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage.

Following a recent meeting with a Qatari delegation to discuss the logistics of pilgrims from the country arriving in the Kingdom, the delegation from Doha left without signing any agreements to enable access for it citizens, according to the ministry.

In response to Doha’s actions, the statement said that Qatari pilgrims could complete their applications upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.