Saudi Arabia distributes $492 mln as ‘Ramadan aid’ for social security beneficiaries
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered on Monday the disbursement of 1.85 billion riyals ($492.4 million) as “Ramadan aid” for social security beneficiaries, state news agency SPA reported.
“The head of a family will be given 1,000 riyals and dependents will be given 500 riyals,” SPA stated.
The decision comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic and the crash in oil prices have started to take their toll on the Saudi economy and public finances.
The Kingdom has announced on Monday new “painful” measures to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus including: reducing public expenditure by 100 billion riyals ($26.6 billion), raising value added tax (VAT) to 15 percent, and suspending cost of living allowance handouts.
A ministerial committee has also been formed to study all financial benefits paid to public sector employees and contractors and will submit its recommendations after 30 days.
Some of the measures previously taken by the government which directly impact the income of nationals and residents include allowing private companies to reduce employees’ salaries by 40 percent, given that they meet a set of requirements.
The government has also supported Saudi nationals, through the disbursement of approximately 1.2 billion riyals ($319 million) to more than 400,000 Saudi nationals working in private sector companies which were affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.