Saudi Arabia replaces finance minister

01 November 2016

Other key public servants have also been dismissed

Saudi Arabia has removed its finance minister, Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz al-Assaf, in a royal decree, replacing him with Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Jadaan, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Assaf remains a minister of state and cabinet member.

Several other key public servants were dismissed in the move, including Abdulrahman bin Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ibrahim, removed from his post as governor of Saline Water Conversion Corporation. He is understood to remain CEO of National Water Company.

Rumaih bin Muhammad al-Rumaih has been appointed as chief of the public transport commission and acting general president of the railways corporation.

The incoming Finance Minister Mohammed bin Abdulaziz al-Jadaan was previously chairman of the Capital Markets Authority, where he oversaw a number of reforms to liberalise the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), and increase foreign investment.

This is the third reshuffle of the government since King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ascended to the throne in January 2015. Al-Assaf was the last remaining minister with a portfolio to serve under the previous King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

A major reshuffle took place in May 2016, with more than five ministers replaced and several ministries restructured. The sweeping changes were a prelude to the Vision 2030 and National Transformation Programme, which aim to fundamentally transform the Saudi economy.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been driving the kingdom’s new economic strategy.

The dismissal of the finance minister follows the successful issuance of a $17.5bn international bond earlier in October, but also numerous delays in government payments and reductions in public sector employee benefits.

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