Law of the Council of Ministries
Royal Order No. A/13
3 Rabi’ I 1414H / 20 August 1993
Published in Umm al-Qura Gazette, No. 3468
10 Rabi’ I 1414H / 27 August 1993
The Council of Ministers is a regulatory authority presided over by the King.
The city of Riyadh shall be the seat of the Council of Ministers. Meetings of the Council may be held in other locations in the Kingdom.
It is stipulated that the member of the Council of Ministers shall be as follows:
(a) A Saudi national by upbringing and descent.
(b) A person well known for uprightness and competence.
(c) Not previously convicted of a crime impinging on religion and honor.
Members of the Council of Ministers may not assume their duties until they take the following oath before the King:
“I swear to God Almighty to be loyal to my religion, then to my King and my country. I swear not to reveal any of the State’s secrets, to protect its interests and laws, and to perform my duties with honesty, integrity and sincerity.”
Membership of the Council of Ministers may not be combined with any other governmental post, unless it is deemed necessary by the President of the Council of Ministers.
A member of the Council of Ministers may not, while in office, buy or lease, directly or through a proxy, or by public auction, any of the properties of the State. He may not sell or rent any of his properties to the government. Further, he may not engage in any commercial or financial activities or accept board membership in any company.
The Council of Ministers meetings are presided over by the King, the President of the Council, or by one of the King’s deputies. The resolutions of the Council of Ministers become final upon the King’s approval.
Members of the Council of Ministers are appointed, relieved of their posts and their resignations accepted by Royal Order. Their responsibilities are specified in accordance with Articles (57) and (58) of the Basic Law of Governance.
The Internal Regulations of the Council shall set forth their rights.
The term of the Council of Ministers shall not exceed four years, during which a new Council shall be reconstituted by Royal Order. If the term expires before the reconstitution of the new Council, the current Council shall continue performing its duties until the new one is reconstituted.
A minister shall be the direct head and the final authority in running the affairs of his ministry, and shall carry out his duties in accordance with provisions of this Law as well as other laws and regulations.
(a) Only a minister shall act for another minister in the Council of Ministers and in accordance with an order issued by the President of the Council of Ministers.
(b) The acting minister shall assume the responsibilities of the minister in the latter’s absence.
Formation of the Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers shall be composed of the following:
(a) The President of the Council of Ministers.
(b) Deputies of the President of the Council of Ministers.
(c) Ministers with Portfolios.
(d) Ministers of State appointed as members of the Council of Ministers by Royal Order.
(e) Counselors of the King, who are appointed as members of the Council of Ministers by Royal Order.
The right to attend meetings of the Council of Ministers shall be an exclusive right of its members and the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers. At the request of the President of the Council of Ministers, or a member of the Council, and with the approval of the President of the Council of Ministers, a state official or an expert shall be permitted to attend the meetings of the Council of Ministers to present information and explanations. However, the right to vote is exclusively restricted to the members.
Any meeting held by the Council of Ministers shall not be considered valid without the attendance of at least two-thirds of its members. Resolutions shall not be considered legal without majority approval. In case of a tie, the President of the Council of Ministers shall cast the deciding vote. In exceptional cases, meetings of the Council of Ministers may be considered valid with half of the members in attendance. In such cases, resolutions shall not be considered legal without the approval of at least two-thirds of the members in attendance. Such exceptional cases are determined by the President of the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers shall not pass a resolution on a matter related to the activities of a ministry except in the presence of the minister concerned or whoever acts for him unless it is necessary.
The deliberations of the Council are presumed confidential. However, its resolutions are public except those deemed classified pursuant to a resolution by the Council.
Members of the Council of Ministers shall be tried for violations committed in carrying out their official duties in accordance with a special law which outlines the violations and specifies the procedures for prosecution and trial as well as the formation of the court tribunal.
The Council of Ministers may form committees from among its members or from nonmembers, to review an item on the agenda of the Council and prepare a special report thereon. The Internal Regulations of the Council shall specify the number of committees and procedure thereof.
Powers of the Council of Ministers
Subject to provisions of the Basic Law of Governance and the Shura Council Law, the Council of Ministers shall draw up the internal, external, financial, economic, educational and defense policies as well as the general affairs of the State and shall supervise their implementation. It shall also review the resolutions of the Shura Council. It shall have the executive authority and be the final authority in financial and administrative affairs of all ministries and other government agencies.
Subject to provisions of the Shura Council Law, laws, treaties, international agreements and concessions shall be issued and amended by Royal Decrees after being reviewed by the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers shall review draft laws and regulations before it and vote on them article by article and then as a whole in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Internal Regulations of the Council.
Each minister shall have the right to propose a draft law or regulation related to the affairs of his ministry. Each member of the Council of Ministers shall have the right to propose whatever he deems worthy of discussion in the Council after the approval of the President of the Council of Ministers.
All decrees shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall come into force on the date of its publication unless another date is stipulated.
The Council, being the direct executive authority, shall have full power over all executive and administrative affairs. The following shall be included in its executive powers:
(i) Monitoring the implementation of laws, regulations and resolutions.
(ii) Establishing and organizing public institutions.
(iii) Following up on the implementation of the general development plan.
(iv) Setting up committees for the review of the ministries’ and other governmental agencies’ conduct of business as well as any specific case. Said committees shall submit the findings of their review at the time set by the Council. The Council shall consider such findings and shall have the right to set up committees of investigation accordingly to draw a final conclusion, subject to laws and regulations.
The government may not contract a loan without the approval of the Council of Ministers and the issuance of a Royal Decree to that effect.
The Council of Ministers shall review the State budget and vote on it chapter by chapter. Said budget shall be promulgated by Royal Decree.
Any supplement to the budget shall only be made by Royal Decree.
The Minister of Finance and National Economy shall submit the closing account for the State’s previous fiscal year to the President of the Council of Ministers who shall refer it to the Council of Ministers for approval.
Presidency of the Council of Ministers
The King, the President of the Council of Ministers, shall direct the general policy of the State and ensure guidance, coordination, and cooperation among the various governmental agencies. He shall ensure harmony, continuity, and unity in all functions of the Council of Ministers. He shall supervise the Council of Ministers, the ministries and governmental agencies and monitor the implementation of laws, regulations and resolutions.
All ministries and other governmental agencies shall submit to the President of the Council of Ministers within ninety (90) days from the beginning of each fiscal year, a report of what has been achieved in comparison with the provisions of the general development plan for the previous fiscal year. The report shall include the difficulties encountered and proposals for the proper conduct of their activities.
Administrative Structure of the Council of Ministers
The administrative structure of the Council of Ministers shall be comprised of the following agencies:
(i) The Office of the President of the Council of Ministers.
(ii) The General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers.
(iii) The Bureau of Experts.
The Internal Regulations of the Council of Ministers shall specify the structures of these agencies, their respective powers and the manner of discharging their duties.
The Internal Regulations of the Council of Ministers shall be issued by Royal Order.
This Law may not be amended except in the same manner as of its promulgation.