Restoring financial allowances to civil servants and military personnel will only cost the government about 7 billion riyals ($1.9 billion) this year, a senior finance ministry official told Al Arabiya television on Thursday.
"Restoring allowances will not have a huge impact on the budget...It will cost about 7 billion riyals this year," said Hindi al-Suhaimi, undersecretary at the ministry of finance.
Its budget pressured by low oil prices, the government slashed the allowances last September in order to save money, but announced last month that it would restore them as a way to stimulate economic growth and because its deficit in the first quarter was smaller than expected.
The 7 billion riyal figure is smaller than many private economists have been estimating; they have been projecting an annual boost to the economy of between 50 and 80 billion riyals due to the restoration of allowances.
Suhaimi did not explain the difference. While it is restoring the allowances, the government may be considerably more careful about awarding them this year, especially for categories such as overtime work.