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Saudi Arabia - shifting sands

The end of Saudi Arabia's market-share strategy and efforts to restructure its economy – while keeping subjects happy – make 2017 a pivotal year for the kingdom

Those first mouthfuls of the new Saudi diet were a shock to the system. First came a partial lifting of subsidies on oil, electricity and water, followed by a freeze on the salaries and fringe benefits of civil servants, who constitute around 70% of the workforce. Saudis are bracing themselves for more unsavoury fare in the months ahead; in 2017, the changes underway in the kingdom will start to hit home. The National Transformation Programme (NTP), the first part of an implementation schedule for the broader Vision 2030, will dominate most aspects of Saudi economic life in 2017, including oil. Already the face of the oil and gas sector has changed, with the post of petroleum minister scrap

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