Saudi king relieves economy minister
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has relieved the economy minister in the latest cabinet reshuffle, official media reported citing a royal decree, as the kingdom grapples with plunging oil prices.
Saudi Press Agency said late Thursday that the king “relieved” Mohammed al-Tuwaijri from his position as economy minister and tasked Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan with overseeing the ministry. Tuwaijri was appointed as advisor to the royal court with the rank of minister, the agency said.
This comes 10 days after Saudi Arabia announced the creation of three new ministries, for tourism, sports and investment. A cabinet reshuffle last month also saw the return of former energy minister Khalid al-Falih to the main political arena as investment minister.
Falih was sacked as energy minister in a major shake-up last September and replaced by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman — the first member of the royal family ever to take charge of the kingdom’s all-important ministry. The latest reshuffles come as Saudi Arabia is reeling from low energy prices and seeks to boost investment and jobs in the key non-oil sectors of tourism, sports and entertainment.
The world’s top crude exporter is struggling to fund de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious Vision 2030 reform programme, as the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak exerts pressure on oil prices.