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Saudi Arabia sacks finance minister as government undergoes restructuring

Ibrahim al-Assaf has been removed from his position as the kingdom grapples with slump in oil revenues
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Abdulaziz al-Assaf after meeting with US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and Gulf finance ministers in Riyadh, 27 October (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia on Monday sacked its veteran finance minister as the kingdom undergoes a major economic restructuring because of lower oil revenues.

Ibrahim al-Assaf "has been removed from his position," said a royal decree, one of a series of orders from King Salman, published by the official SPA news agency.

Assaf was replaced by Mohammed Aljadaan, head of the Capital Market Authority which regulates the stock market.

A foreign diplomat had told AFP weeks ago there was talk of changing the finance minister, who had been in the post for years.

Back in May, Saudi King Salman replaced his long-serving oil minister as part of a major government overhaul which comes as the kingdom grapples with a slump in energy revenues.

Ali al-Naimi, who held the post of oil minister for more than two decades, was one of the most powerful figures within the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel.

Recently his influence appeared to have been curbed by the growing power of Salman's son Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, who has taken charge of economic policy.

Saudi officials have long spoken of the need to diversify the kingdom's economy, which is heavily reliant on oil income.