Saudi could save $5.3bn by allowing women to drive

The decision is expected to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on foreign drivers



Saudi ruler King Salman’s decision to allow women to drive could save the kingdom SAR20bn ($5.33bn), according to a member of the Saudi Economic Association.

Arab News quoted Abdullah Ahmed Al-Moghlooth as saying the saving was under the assumption that half of the kingdom’s 1.38 million expatriate drivers, used to ferry around female family members and children, are no longer needed.

Currently salaries for foreign drivers in the kingdom total some SAR33bn ($8.79bn) annually not including recruitment, resident permit and work permit fees, according to the official.

There were also many widows, divorced and single women who cannot pay a driver’s fees.

“I believe that this decision approximately saves the Kingdom SAR20bn annually, if it can be assumed that 50 per cent of the existing drivers are not needed. Some Saudi families will choose not to recruit new expatriate drivers,” Al-Maghlooth said, according to the publication.

A new wave of women drivers is also expected to provide a boost to the kingdom’s automotive industry.

Read: Women drivers seen reviving Saudi car market

There are an estimated nine million potential female drivers in the kingdom, who could hit the roads soon after the new policy is implemented by June 24, 2018.