Saudi Arabia Issues New Decrees, Reshuffles Cabinet

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a series of royal decrees on Saturday which included reinstating allowances and financial bonuses to Saudi public sector employees that had been cut under austerity measures in September last year.

“The royal order returns all allowances, financial benefits, and bonuses to civil servants and military staff,” said the decree.

The 20 percent decrement of ministers’ salaries came into effect with the falling oil prices as part of an ambitious plan led by Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to bolster the kingdom’s budget deficit.

The decrees also announced the granting of a two-month salary bonus to frontline army personnel fighting in Yemen and ordered the completion of all academic examinations before the month of Ramadan. 

Among the issued decrees was an order on establishing the National Security Center, which is affiliated to the Royal Court.

The royal decrees, which were broadcast on state-run Al Ekhbariya channel, also oversaw a major reshuffle of the cabinet ministers and appointments of new governors.

The King also announced the appointment of Prince Khaled bin Salman as the new ambassador to the United States replacing Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki.

Prince Khaled, who is a younger brother to current Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is a former air force pilot and participated in the international coalition to combat ISIS.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman was named the Kingdom’s new minister of state for energy affairs.

Announcements were made for the appointment of deputies to all regional governors.

Prince Saud bin Abdulmohsin has been replaced by Prince Abdulaziz bin Saad as the Governor of Hail region. Prince Mishal bin Abdullah bin Musaed has been replaced by Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Sultan as the Governor of the Northern border region and Prince Hossam Bin Saud as the new governor of Al-Baha region, replacing Prince Mushari Bin Saud.

King Salman also appointed deputy governors Prince Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman in Riyadh, Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar in Makkah, Prince Saud Bin Khalid Bin Faisal in Madinah, Prince Mohammad Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Aziz in Jazan, Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin in Asir, Prince Fahad Bin Turki in Al-Qassim and Prince Turki Bin Hadloul in Najran. Ahmad Bin Abdullah was appointed as governor of Diriyah.

Other major directives included the dismission of Information and Cultural Minister Adel Al-Toraifi from his post that was replaced by Dr. Awwad bin Al-Awwad, the ambassador to Germany.

Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha is appointed new Minister of Telecommunications and IT replacing Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel while Khaled Al-Arj was relieved from his position as Civil Service Minister.

Further reshuffling of cabinet ministers included the appointment of Khalil Al-Thaqafi as the new chief of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), the removal of Lt. Gen. Eid Al-Shalwi as head of the army and named a consultant to the defense minister. The directives also ordered the promotion of Fahad bin Turki to lieutenant general replacing Al-Shalwi.

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