Fierce anger reigns in the Al-Faihaa neighborhood of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, after the Saudi authorities demolished the homes and property of citizens, and displaced them in the open air without shelter.
The Saudis resort to building homes in the Al-Faihaa neighborhood, north of Mecca, to escape high real estate prices in the city, which accelerated the construction of hotels and villas for the Saud House family.
The General Administration of Municipalities Affairs, represented by the Municipality of Umrah, a subsidiary of the Municipality of the Holy Capital, in cooperation with the Saudi security services and the slaughter units, surprised the demolition of the homes and properties of citizens in Al-Faiha.
Attempts by citizens to defend their lands and private property as a result of the heavy security presence to suppress any attempt to object to the demolition process did not succeed.
According to the mayor of the Umrah sub-municipality, Omar bin Abdul-Rahman Al-Maliki, the demolitions included the demolition of 47 sites, which are armed and popular buildings, fenced lands with a total area of 34,000 square meters, in addition to the removal of barracks, tents, and sheep sheds over large areas of land.
Citizens of the Saudi slaughter units demolishing their homes and properties denied the validity of the claims of the Umrah sub-municipality, asserting that their homes were built on their privately owned lands.
The security services and the slaughtering units carried out the demolitions without regard for the legal aspect, or the declared state of emergency as a result of the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the Kingdom.
They demanded that the Saudi authorities compensate them financially, and provide temporary homes until they return to their new homes.
Saudi activists recently launched the “Land Tenants” initiative.
Activists interacted with the initiative, with calls from landlords to contribute to exempting tenants and easing rents. With a view to remuneration and contribute to the alleviation of financial burdens.
And the series of governmental austerity measures and decisions in the Kingdom are still continuing to contain the repercussions of the Coronavirus crisis and the global decline in oil prices.
The Kingdom recently launched a series of measures that Minister of Finance Mohamed Al-Jadaan described as “painful”, the most prominent of which is: stopping the cost of living allowance starting from next June and raising the value-added tax rate from 5% to 15% starting from the first of July for the year 2020, except for allowing the salaries of thousands of employees in the private sector to be reduced to 40% with the possibility of terminating employee contracts.
The Kingdom’s Ministry of Housing surprised the Saudi military and citizens by stopping the payments of two of its mortgage support programs as it looked to reduce costs in light of the Coronavirus pandemic crises and the drop in oil prices, which had caused huge losses to the economy.
The Ministry of Housing said on its website that the interest-free loan program for the military covering 20% of the property, or up to 140,000 Saudi riyals (37,000 dollars), will be suspended. Another plan that provides citizens with assistance amounting to 95,000 riyals, or 10% of the property, has been suspended.
According to the Ministry of Housing, all requests approved before May 31 will remain. The primary government mortgage support mechanism – providing assistance up to 500,000 riyals – will remain active.
The Kingdom had taken a set of steps to increase home construction and lending, before the Kingdom’s economy faced the two sets of Coronavirus and lower oil prices, as it worked to remove one of the lowest mortgage rates in the world.
According to the 2030 vision of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom is seeking to raise home ownership from 62% to 70% by the year.
The first Saudi mortgage refinance company said earlier this year that it aims to increase its holdings of housing loan portfolios ten times this year.
The new Saudi decision comes to be added to the previous series of government decisions, and it caused a real shock in the Saudi street in general and youth in particular.
The new decisions suggest the end of the era of luxury in the oil country.
The French “Capital” magazine saw that the austerity shock to which the Saudi people were subjected, “the dreams of many young people” evaporated in the country, expecting at the same time, that this shock would fuel resentment against the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the actual ruler of the Kingdom.
In its report, the French magazine said that the Kingdom’s residents found themselves overnight in the face of shocking austerity measures that would lead to lower income, lower employment rates, and deteriorating living conditions, especially after the value-added tax was doubled three times, in a country where the concept of tax was unknown for some time now.
Observers expect that the high cost of living and the low level of income will threaten the social contract between the authority and the people, and impede the development process adopted by the Crown Prince and put the Kingdom at a difficult crossroads after the first three months of the year in which the budget deficit reached nine billion dollars.