Middle East

Saudi king reduces salaries, perks for senior officials

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2015 file photo, Saudi Arabia's King Salman attends a ceremony at the Diwan royal palace in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia's King Salman is reducing the salaries and benefits of senior government officials as lower oil prices continue to pinch the kingdom's economy, but a separate decision also cuts bonuses for public sector employees. (AP Photo/Yoan Valat, Pool, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2015 file photo, Saudi Arabia's King Salman attends a ceremony at the Diwan royal palace in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia's King Salman is reducing the salaries and benefits of senior government officials as lower oil prices continue to pinch the kingdom's economy, but a separate decision also cuts bonuses for public sector employees. (AP Photo/Yoan Valat, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

Saudi Arabia's King Salman is reducing the salaries and benefits of senior government officials as lower oil prices continue to pinch the kingdom's economy.

The royal decree published Monday orders a 20 percent reduction in the salaries of ministers, among them the king's successors: Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, and Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

The decree also includes a 15 percent reduction in benefits toward a car and housing for members of the country's highest consultative body, the Shura Council.

The decision comes as the government tries to rein in spending and boost the appeal of private sector jobs amid complaints of unemployment and low wages.

The changes are to start with the Islamic new year, which falls on October 1.