Timothy Callen, IMF Mission Chief for Saudi Arabia, lauded the reforms implemented by Saudi authorities within Saudi Vision 2030 from “adjusting fiscal policy to the realities of lower oil prices,” enhancing the business environment and increasing transparency.
Callen also praised the kingdom’s permission for women to drive, noting that it is a great step in the field of encouraging recruiting, productivity and women participation in the labor force.
In a news conference on the outcomes of Article IV Consultations with Saudi Arabia and the issuance of Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), lead researcher Mostafa El-Sayed and Timothy Callen asserted that the Saudi authorities succeeded in adopting reforms that led to the decline of the deficit in a high rate.
Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan welcomed the report that clarifies the positive impact of economic reforms performed by the kingdom within Saudi Vision 2030.
IMF staff commended Saudi Arabia' efforts to enhance non-oil revenue and welcomed its plan for further energy price reforms. They welcomed recent improvements in the fiscal framework and fiscal transparency, as well as the findings of the Financial System Stability Assessment report that showed banks are well regulated and supervised.
They also mentioned the good progress being made in identifying and removing obstacles to private sector growth, but stressed that increasing the employment of Saudi nationals in the private sector was essential.
According to the report, non-oil growth is projected to pick up to 1.7 percent in 2017. The fiscal deficit is projected to narrow substantially in the coming years. It is expected to decline from 17.2 percent of GDP in 2016 to 9.3 percent of GDP in 2017, and to just under 1 per cent of GDP by 2022.