First Published: 2017-05-02

Saudi aims for transparency with budget report
Saudi to issue quarterly budget update as part of efforts to woo investors as it tries to reduce budget deficits caused by collapse in energy revenues.
Middle East Online

Kingdom's vision 2030 plan aims to develop its industrial, investment and small-medium business base

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it will issue a quarterly budget progress report for the first time as part of efforts to boost transparency while diversifying its oil-dependent economy.

The world's biggest oil exporter is wooing investors as it tries to reduce budget deficits caused by a collapse in energy revenues.

"We will for the first time in Saudi announce, possibly in a couple of weeks or less, the first quarterly results of the budget," Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan told the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference.

Under its Vision 2030 plan released last year, the kingdom aims to develop its industrial, investment and small-medium business base to employ more Saudis and reduce its reliance on oil revenue.

"The government made a clear commitment that they will increase the level of transparency," al-Jaadan said.

"They will submit to international laws on transparency" and respond to the needs of the private sector which requires timely data to make investment decisions, he added.

The Vision 2030 plan coincided with a plunge in global oil prices that began in 2014 and left Saudi Arabia with a budget deficit for this year initially projected at $53 billion (48.5 billion euros).

In September authorities froze salaries and limited benefits for civil servants -- who comprise the bulk of the workforce -- as part of austerity measures.

But last month King Salman restored those benefits.

Minister of State Mohammed al-Shaikh later explained that the move coincided with "the substantially better-than-expected budgetary performance" in the first quarter after the government took measures to cope with its budget deficit.

These included cuts in subsidies and delays in major projects.

In October Saudi Arabia raised $17.5 billion in its first international bond offering.

The kingdom is also preparing to sell less than five-percent of energy giant Aramco next year. In April it cut taxes on oil companies in a major move that could attract investors.

Saudi Arabia's stock exchange, Tadawul, has opened to foreign investors and in February began an alternative trading platform, Nomu, to boost small and medium firms.

Two more companies have been approved for offerings on Nomu in addition to the seven that already trade, Mohammed El-Kuwaiz, Vice Chairman of the Capital Market Authority, told the same conference.

"The first day of trading on the Nomu market was larger than most of the main markets in our GCC countries, which gives you an indication of the pent-up demand," he said, referring to the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

 

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan

Saudi to give Yemen government $2bn bailout

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia intercepts new Yemen rebel missile attack