According to recent reports, Saudi Arabia will be changing its weekend from Thursday-Friday, to Friday-Saturday, bringing the country in line with other countries in the region, which will help to coordinate business and banking days. Friday will remain a holiday, in line with other countries that set aside the day for communal Muslim prayer. The royal decree is said to be taking effect this week.
Saudi Arabia was only the member of the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council to maintain old Thursday-Friday format. The move comes after Oman’s recent switch to a Friday-Saturday weekend.
In 2007, Saudi authorities rejected a similar proposal, until continuous lobbying by the Saudi business community was finally been accepted.
The new weekend will create a far more harmonized and streamlined trading structure between Saudi and regional business hubs, such as Dubai.
As reported by the BBC, Saudi King Abdullah described the move as taken ‘for the sake of putting an end to the negative effects and the lost economic opportunities consistently associated with variation based on work days between local departments, ministries and institutions and the regional and international counterparts.”
The change will make it far easier for Saudi businesses to trade with r Western businesses as well, as they will now have four working days in common. According to Bloomberg News, analysts estimate that the change of weekends could lower the cost of doing business in the Kingdom by as much as half.