When Saudis flocked to fill cars before deadline

A man injects a vehicle with fuel at a petrol station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this file photo taken on October 8, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 January 2018
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When Saudis flocked to fill cars before deadline

JEDDAH: People rushed to fill cars and other containers before the decision to increase gasoline prices took effect at midnight on Jan. 1, resulting in overcrowding at gas stations.
Abdullah Al-Twairqi tweeted: “People around the world are celebrating New Year’s Eve, while half of the population in Saudi Arabia celebrated in gas stations, waiting in long lines to fill up their cars.”
Since the announcement of the increase, videos and memes of jokes about the matter have gone viral on social media.
As an action to reduce expenses, some Saudis filmed themselves riding bicycles instead of in cars.
Others started asking: “What would happen if I gave my car 91 octane instead of 95 octane?” In his answer, @mohammed55151 tweeted: “It may cause a problem at the beginning, because it takes a little while for the digestive tract to adjust to a new formula.”
Songs were shared or rewritten to fit the timeline of events. One, by the famous Emirati singer Hussein El-Jasmi titled “Murini” or “Come with me,” was widely shared attached with a video of a group of people sharing one motorcycle.
@Alcantara757 tweeted that the unluckiest person in Saudi Arabia now is “unemployed, a smoker and drives a GMC car.”
Saudi Arabia used to be one of the countries that provided the lowest prices for gasoline. That accounts for the public reaction to the new decision.
Dalal Hamad, a Twitter user told Arab News: “I believe these people who film themselves commenting or making jokes are following every opportunity to gain fame; I don’t find them funny at all, they are fame worshippers.”
But Zekra Mohammed, another Twitter user, has another view. She told Arab News: “I believe that this phenomenon shows that jokes are a coping mechanism people use to make life easier on themselves.”
The decision raised the price of 91 octane to sell for SR1.37 ($0.37) per liter, up from 75 halalas; 95 octane increased to SR2.04 per liter, up from 90 halalas.
Notably, the new prices also include value-added tax (VAT), with 5 percent added to every purchase.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.