Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Vice President of the Council of the Ministers, Minister of Defense and Chairman of the Economic and Development Affairs Council, affirmed on Tuesday that improving the standard of living for citizens is core of the efforts exerted by the Kingdom's government to diversify the economy and achieve financial stability through stimulating the private sector and contributing to create more jobs for citizens, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
In a press statement following announcement of the State's General Budget for Fiscal Year 2018, the Crown Prince stated that announcement of the greatest program for the governmental expenditure in the Kingdom's history represents “a solid indication of the success of our efforts in the field of improving the public financial management, in spite of a fall of oil prices significantly rather than in the previous years.”
He stressed that the expansionary budget 2018 included a comprehensive group of new development initiatives aiming to achieve financial and economic stability, which is confirmed by the Kingdom Vision 2030 through stimulating the main economic sectors in order to creation of jobs, improve the basic services for the citizens and develop infrastructure projects.
He pointed out that the expenditure of the public institutions in the state has been coordinated to achieve the development goals for the coming fiscal year. The expenditure will come from three main sources, expenditure from the budget will reach to SR978 billion in addition to SR50 billion from the development funds included in the National Development Fund, which will fund housing, industrial and mining projects, in addition to packages stimulating the private sector.
The third source of the capital and investment expenditure which will support the economy and development is the investment expenditure inside the Kingdom from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to fund its new and existing projects. It is anticipated that the fund will reach SR83 billion in the coming fiscal year, which will increase the total public expenditure to more than SR1.1 trillion in 2018.
Prince Mohammed affirmed that the Kingdom will exert all efforts to boost economic growth and improve the standard of living for citizens.
He pointed out that a large proportion of total estimated capital expenditure in 2018, amounting to SR338 billion, will come from the Public Investment Fund and the National Development Fund by SR133 billion. He added that the capital expenditure will be SR205 billion which represents a major jump in the capital expenditure.
For 2018, Prince Mohammed disclosed that PIF expenditure will lead to more economic development and create more job opportunities for citizens and help the private sector in order to open new fields of investment.
He said that the budget includes provisions for more housing products in addition to support seven hundred thousand homes with fiber optic network in order to provide telecommunication services helping citizens to obtain more services through high-speed internet.
Prince Mohammed stated that the economic reform programs under the Kingdom Vision 2030 achieved tangible outputs where 50% of this year's budget is funded by non-oil sources and income, including non-oil revenues, in addition to proceeds of debt instruments. He lauded efforts exerted by all ministries and government commissions to raise the efficiency of expenditure and to provide funds through the adoption of the most efficient and developed work methods in the government sector.
"These developments are tangible evidence of the progress made in this framework and also affirm the need to continue pursuing financial sustainability and economic diversification in order to reduce our dependence on one key source of income," stressed Prince Mohammed.
He hailed the reduction of the budget deficit for the current fiscal year by more than 25% compared to the previous fiscal year, despite the increase in expenditure.
He pointed out that the government seeks to reduce the deficit in the coming budget to be less than 8% of the GDP in spite of the large and expansionary volume of the budget.