Saudi finance minister sacked
SAUDI Arabia has sacked its veteran finance minister as the kingdom undergoes a major economic restructuring because of lower oil revenues.
Ibrahim al-Assaf “has been removed from his position”, said a royal decree, one of a series of orders from King Salman, published by the official SPA news agency.
Mr Assaf was replaced by Mohammed Aljadaan, head of the Capital Market Authority which regulates the stock market.
Mr Assaf, 67, who has a doctorate in economics, was reassigned as a minister of state and will remain in cabinet.
Mr Aljadaan, a lawyer, had led the Capital Market Authority since January last year.
Since 2014, global oil prices have collapsed by about half, accelerating Saudi efforts to move away from petroleum which still accounts for the bulk of government income.
The world’s biggest oil exporter is projecting a budget deficit of US$87 billion this year.
It has taken a series of measures, including subsidy cuts, reductions in cabinet ministers’ salaries and delays in major projects.
Mr Assaf last week said Saudi Arabia’s financial position remains strong despite sinking oil prices, although there is “some pressure” on bank liquidity. –