Saudi king earmarks $2.4 billion for private sector workers

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered up to nine billion riyals ($2.4bn) to be disbursed to pay part of the wages of private sector workers to deter companies from laying off staff, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday.

The latest measure to tackle the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak followed an emergency stimulus package announced last month to shore up the economy.

“Instead of terminating the employment of a Saudi citizen, the employer has the right to ask social insurance to disburse as compensation 60 per cent of his salary over a period of three months, with a maximum limit of 9,000 riyals (per employee) and with a total value of up to 9bn riyals,” the SPA reported, citing a royal order.

The stimulus announced last month by Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan included 70bn riyals to be set aside to help businesses, with measures including exemptions and postponements of some government fees and taxes.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, the central bank, urged lenders to re-evaluate interest rates on credit cards and return foreign exchange transfer fees for travel-related bookings.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 154 new infections since Thursday, bringing the total number to 2,039 and 25 deaths.

The kingdom’s total confirmed cases and deaths are the highest among the GCC states.




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