Post oil price crash, Saudi replaces Islamic calendar with Gregorian
The Saudi government workers will be paid according to the Gregorian calendar instead of the Islamic Hijri calendar, making the working month longer as part of cost-cutting measures, newspapers reported on Monday.
The change, approved by the Cabinet last week, brings civil service pay in line with the government’s January-December fiscal year, the Arab News and Saudi Gazette reported. The reports said the latest austerity measure took effect on October 1.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is cutting government spending and re-orienting its economy after a collapse over the past two years of the global oil price, which provided most of its revenue.
Last week, the Cabinet had cut ministers’ pay by 20 per cent and froze the wages of low-rank civil servants. Almost twice as many Saudis are employed in the bloated public sector – where hours are shorter and leaves longer – than in private firms.
In April, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy.
Vision 2030 aims to boost private sector employment, cutting government payroll to 40 per cent of the budget from 45 per cent by 2020.