Royal decrees issued to help Saudis cope with VAT, price rises

Updated 07 January 2018
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Royal decrees issued to help Saudis cope with VAT, price rises

JEDDAH: The Saudi government on Saturday introduced measures to help citizens adjust to the new 5-percent value-added tax (VAT) and a hike in fuel and electricity prices.
The royal decrees include a financial support package to help citizens adjust to economic reforms.
The package includes citizens working in the state’s civilian and military sectors, as well as pensioners and students. It covers housing, education, health care and a rise in salaries.
For the next 12 months, Saudi civilian and military workers will see their salaries rise by SR1,000 ($267), while welfare recipients and pensioners will get an extra SR500 monthly for the rest of the year.
For one year, the state will also bear VAT for citizens using private health care and education.
Students in public universities will receive a 10-percent rise in their monthly allowances to help them cope with VAT.
The government supports Saudi students in public universities with a monthly allowance of $200-$300.
Students depend on these allowances for their study commitments, transportation, housing and personal needs.
Soldiers on the Kingdom’s southern border will get a one-time bonus of SR5,000. Also, first-time home buyers will have the VAT paid by the state — not exceeding in value SR850,000 — on the purchase.
The Kingdom is moving to reduce its reliance on oil, which is the biggest source of state revenue.
On the impact of these decrees, social media became a space for virtual celebration through which Saudis expressed their joy at the decision they described as generous.
Last year, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment claimed that the Kingdom’s recent economic reforms have seen the country ranked 10th in a report on the World Bank’s Minority Protection Index.
The World Bank Group report said the Kingdom is among the top 20 reformist countries in the world, and the second among the top high-income countries in the G-20 countries in terms of implementing reforms to improve the business climate.
 


In exclusive essay, Prince Khaled bin Salman argues world should unite in confronting Iran's aggression

Updated 19 min 53 sec ago
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In exclusive essay, Prince Khaled bin Salman argues world should unite in confronting Iran's aggression

  • Hitler 1938, Iran 2018: World ‘must learn the lesson of history' writes the Saudi envoy to the US

WASHINGTON: The world must confront Iranian aggression in a way that it failed to do in the 1930s with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, has warned in an exclusive political essay published in Arab News.
Appeasement was unsuccessful in halting Nazi Germany’s rise to power, and it will be equally unsuccessful in deterring the theocratic regime in Tehran, Prince Khalid says.
“At a time of thunderous echoes of the 1930s — the sustained fallout from an economic crisis, extreme polarization of the political spectrum from the far right to the hard left, inaction from the global community and malignant actors determined to fill a void in leadership by spreading their ideology of hate and violence — it is incumbent on the global community to act with resolve,” Prince Khalid writes.
He argues that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, far from curbing Tehran’s regional meddling and support for global terrorism, has in fact provided it with more than $100 billion in resources to finance these activities.
“As at Munich eight decades ago, when Western concessions failed to satisfy Nazi Germany’s desires for a bigger, more powerful ‘Reich,’ the world is again faced with the twin options of offering treasure and territory to placate a murderous regime, or confronting evil head-on,” Prince Khalid writes.
He draws a comparison between Saudi Arabia, with its ambitious development plans in investing for a strong and stable future, and Iran’s lavish spending on military adventurism in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. “Those who adhere to terrorism and violent extremism are but a small minority in both Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he writes. “The difference is that in Saudi Arabia these terrorists are on the run, while in Iran they are running the country.”
Prince Khalid welcomes the avowed determination of US President Donald Trump to take a more realistic approach to the Iranian menace, and he offers Saudi Arabia’s unqualified support.
“The world must join us to confront Iran with seriousness and intent. Iran needs to know it will pay a price if it continues to violate international law and interfere in the affairs of its neighbors,” he writes.

To read full essay in today's opinion section, click here.
To read essay in PDF format , click here