SAUDI ARABIA: Changes to Working Days

By royal decree, Saudi Arabia will be changing their weekend from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday.

According to the BBC, the change will bring the country into line with the other 5 countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council and will help co-ordinate business and banking days. It will mean that Saudi businesses will now have four working days overlapping with Western and regional businesses rather than three, making it easier to trade.

The Guardian reports that this move was immediately welcomed by Saudi economists and businessmen. John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Masic investment in Riyadh states that – “Instead of having just three working days aligned with the rest of the world, now you will have a full team for most of the working week that the rest of the world applies. One extra day does play a considerable role in increasing output.”  Ali al-Ajmi, a former vice-president at state oil company Saudi Aramco has also stated that – “It will increase interface with the rest of the world, now things will move faster.” Further, Abdulrahman al-Ubaid, a former vice-president at Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), one of the world’s biggest petrochemical companies, also welcomed the change. He has stated that – “We expect the impact to be positive on the Saudi economy, we think our business will be easier,”  particularly since Saudi Arabia is considering opening its stock market to more direct foreign investment in the future.

A statement carried by the national Saudi news agency SPA said the change, decreed by King Abdullah, was “for the sake of putting an end to the negative effects and the lost economic opportunities consistently associated with variation based on work days between local departments, ministries and institutions and the regional and international counterparts.”

The new schedule begins this Friday.

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