Saudi Arabia is giving many of its citizens $3000 for free

  • Saudi Arabia plans to give its citizens $13 billion (50 billion riyals) in handouts to offset the increasing costs of living. 
  • State employees will receive monthly payments of 1,000 riyals (about $US266). 
  • The government also announced plans to cut perks to royal family members, which angered members of Saudi's elites.

Saudi Arabia plans to give its citizens 50 billion riyals ($13 billion) in handouts to offset increasing costs of living, Reuters reported Sunday.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has ordered the government to pay out 1,000 riyals (about $266) to state employees each month in 2018.

The world's most innovative countries:

The world's most innovative countries
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The world's most innovative countries

16. Hong Kong — The region has dipped nine spots since 2013 and is falling every year, due mostly to waning patent filings and education scores. However, the report finds Hong Kong still plays a major a role in the global economy, particularly because of its infrastructure and how robust its market has become due to investment and trade opportunities.

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15. France — Up three places from 2016, France's greatest strengths lie in the market sophistication category, specifically with venture capital deals, the report finds. It also places near the top in research and development. 

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14. Japan — Known for its manufacturing and technology sector, Japan ranks highest in infrastructure and patent filings. Last year it missed cracking the top 15 by one place. 

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13. Iceland — As the country bounces back from financial woes, it's making storage of the world's internet data its primary goal. Iceland has been ranked 13th three years in a row.

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12. Luxembourg — The tiny country's latest ranking comes from high scores in creative outputs, such as feature films and printed books.

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11. Republic of Korea — According to the Index, South Korea's greatest asset is its education sector. The country has also seen tremendous growth in research and development.

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10. Ireland — Down three places in the ranking since 2016, Ireland is still recognized for its infrastructure and creative outputs, like its thriving design culture. 

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9. Germany — The country ranks at the top of the list's measurement of patent creation, and has strong technology output, especially in automobile technology.

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8. Finland — Though it hovered in the top five for the last several years, Finland has fallen slightly this year due to declining rankings in technology and research. It still ranks first overall in education, though.

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7. Singapore — One of the most consistently highly ranked countries, Singapore stands out for its political environment and ecological sustainability. 

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6. Denmark — Denmark leads for its efficient system of government, large quantity of researchers, and quality of education. It's moved up two spots since 2016.

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5. United Kingdom — The UK's success in infrastructure, such as the London Crossrail, buoy it near the top. But the country has lower scores in education and productivity.

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4. United States — The US held steady in its fourth-place ranking since 2016, most notably due to the strength of its global-facing markets, the value of its stock trades, and its widespread implementation of internet technology. 

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3. Netherlands — With a high volume of patents filed, the Netherlands leads the survey's business sophistication rankings. The country also falls near the top in the categories of knowledge and technology outputs, which include things like inventions and trademarks.

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2. Sweden — Well-designed universities and high-achieving graduates have kept Sweden in the top three for the last six years. 

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1. Switzerland — The country has been number one since 2011 because of its knowledge-based economy and ability to turn innovative thinking into lucrative projects. For example, local bank UBS is now using virtual reality to project investment portfolios to its clients. 

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“The allocation of 50 billion riyals for this decree indicates the leadership’s concern for the people’s comfort and quality of living,” Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad, the Minister of Culture and Information told local media.

Roughly 1.18 million Saudis are employed by the government.

Pensioners and soldiers fighting on the frontlines against Yemen will also be given 5,000 riyal ($1330) bonuses, and the government will cover the cost of VAT in some cases, including first-time home purchases. 

The King's payment plan hopes to compensate for a recent 5% tax increase on basic goods like food and utilities, and for nearly doubling the cost of gasoline. 

Those price hikes were part of the Kingdom's efforts to tackle its budget deficit estimated at 195 billion riyals ($52 billion).

The government also announced plans to cut perks to royal family members, which angered many members of Saudi's elites.

On Saturday, authorities detained 11 princes after they gathered for a rare protest in front of the royal palace. 

The protest stemmed from another royal decree that "halted payments by the state to members of the royal family to cover their electricity and water utility bills," Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said in a statement to CNN

Saudi Arabia is trying to tackle its debt

Saudi Arabia has announced several austerity measures to deal with the country's mounting debt.

Last month, Saudi Arabia revealed a 72 billion riyal ($19.2 billion) program to boost private-sector growth, Bloomberg reported.

“The only way to generate a recovery of growth in 2018 is through fiscal stimulus,” Crispin Hawes, a managing director at a London political risk consulting firm told Bloomberg. 

In line with Vision 2030, which aims to "open up the country and diversify the economy," Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has led a crackdown on corruption by arresting 200 of the country's wealthiest individuals, whose assets are estimated to be worth $800 billion. 

Saudi officials offered freedom to businessmen, royals and ministers detained in the purge in return for up to 70% of their wealth, which could net the Kingdom billions for funding the country's ambitious programs. 

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SEE ALSO: Saudi Arabia ended a 35-year ban on cinemas, pointing to the Crown Prince’s hopes for modernization

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