Saudi Arabia has made its second payment to a social support scheme for low and middle-income families, days after confirming a new hardship allowance for government workers.
Monarch King Salman ordered the monthly payment of SAR1,000 ($267) to state employees, SAR5,000 to military personnel in Yemen and a 10 per cent stipend increase for students studying abroad on scholarship programmes on Saturday.
These payments and those under the social support citizen’s account programme are designed to help citizens weather the affects of recent increases to fuel and electricity prices and a newly introduced 5 per cent value added tax.
Saudi Press Agency confirmed that SAR2.1bn ($560m) was paid to low and middle income families on Wednesday, slightly more than a previous payment of SAR2bn.
Half of households and individuals registered for the scheme, which has around 11 million beneficiaries, received the maximum amount of SAR935.
A third instalment will be paid on February 10.
Beneficiaries have to be citizens of Saudi Arabia or the son, daughter or spouse of a citizen permanently residing in the country.
Minister of culture and information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad told Saudi publication Al Sharq Al Awsat on Sunday that the citizens account programme would cost roughly SAR30bn ($8bn) this year.
In comparison, the new allowances announced on Saturday are expected to cost SAR50bn ($13.3bn).