A government official said Riyadh was delaying a decision on energy prices until it had finished designing a system of cash payments to lower- and middle-income households, which would partially compensate citizens for the pain of austerity.
“There are still some discussions over who is going to be compensated and who is not,” he said. “The government has to consider the implications of higher taxes and ways to mitigate risks for both gross domestic product growth and the budget.”
The timing of energy price increases may be another casualty of the recession. Although some sources said they still expected hikes to occur this year, others said they could be delayed into 2018.