Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Saudi Arabia Plans Further Fiscal Expansion in 2018 Budget

Saudi Arabia Plans Further Fiscal Expansion in 2018 Budget

Monday, 30 October, 2017 - 09:00
Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia plans to further expand the fiscal year 2018 budget as the government is seeking to support the economy and promote growth, as well as consider the possibility of increased spending.

In an interview with Bloomberg news agency, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan said he did not expect the government to sell more international bonds in 2017, noting that local sales were likely.

“We will maintain the local market issuance just to make sure we are developing the debt market,” the minister was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

Stressing a significant demand on Saudi papers, Jadaan said: “We just need to make sure we issue at the right price.”

In the same context, the minister explained that the government was working to correct energy prices later this year, but after the implementation of the “Citizen’s Account” program of cash transfers to redirect subsidies and help citizens cope with the burdens arising from the increase in energy prices.

As for paying back allowances, rewards and financial benefits approved by the royal order, he stressed that the majority of government agencies have already begun to return allowances for their employees.

“If it didn’t happen in one department then it is just a technical issue that they need to deal with in their budget, and we are looking at it actually, because I’ve heard this,” he said.

“But generally I could tell you that it has, the majority has been paid, including the back-dating of allowances,” he added.

In a separate interview with Al-Arabiya channel on Sunday, Jadaan noted that the growth of the non-oil private sector would accelerate with the continued stimulus package for this field, adding that he was hoping to announce new stimulus packages before the end of the year in consultation with the sector to create new jobs for Saudi citizens.

“We allocated SAR 200 billion ($53.3 billion) as stimulus packages to the private sector until 2020, so far we have disbursed SAR 15 billion for housing and SAR 25 billion to the Industrial Development Fund,” Jadaan told Al Arabiya.

Editor Picks