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Saudi Arabia to Slash Spending by 5%, Affirms Strength of Finances

Saudi Arabia to Slash Spending by 5%, Affirms Strength of Finances

Thursday, 19 March, 2020 - 10:00
Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Four Seasons hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hadeel Al Sayegh
Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia has said the government will cut spending by five percent, or about $13.3 billion as part of measures to face the coronavirus outbreak, while affirming the strength of the government’s finances.

In a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Finance Minister Mohammad al-Jadaan said the government approved a partial reduction in spending in areas “with the least social and economic impact."

"The size of the partial reduction ... has reached approximately 50 billion riyals ($13.3 billion), which represents less than five percent of the total expenditures approved in the budget for 2020," said al-Jadaan.

He said additional measures would be taken to deal with the drop in oil prices.

Given the potential impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, "developments will be reassessed, items of expenditures will be reviewed and appropriate decisions will be made in a timely manner," he stated.

The minister also affirmed the strength of the government's financial position, as it maintained huge government reserves and assets that enable it to deal with emerging challenges.

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