Saudi Arabia has boosted its expansionary spending with the adoption of an historic 2010 budget, with expenditure estimated at SR540bn, and income of 470bn SR, up 14% compared to the 2009 budget. The Saudi Ministry of Finance has pointed out that, as per the royal directives, it is to continue to reduce public debt – which reached SR237bn at the end of 2008 representing 13.3% of GDP compared to 82% for 2003.
Public debt is expected to decline by the end of current fiscal year to about SR225bn, however the proportion to the GDP will rise to 16% as a result of the decline in gross domestic product at current prices for the fiscal year 2009.
The Saudi monarch said “Preparing the budget has taken into account the needs of our national economy in view of the international economic conditions, as we were keen to have the budget as a continuation of boosting the sustainable development of our country, despite the international economic conditions, which had led to lower oil prices and the quantities exported…by continuing to channel resources to spend on the more supportive aspects of economic growth and development, and enhance the attractiveness of our national economy for investment, and provide more job opportunities for citizens through focusing on the human development, infrastructure and social services sectors.
“It is to this end, the budget has included new programs and projects and additional phases for a number of already approved projects, whose costs exceed SR260bn.”
The budget represents a continuation of the Kingdom’s approach to give priority to social development, according to King Abdullah and accordingly, over SR137bn has been allocated for the public education and higher education and manpower training sectors. Programs include the implementation of the Saudi Arabian education development project, and the establishment of 1,200 new schools for boys and girls. The budget also includes funds for four new universities in Dammam, Al-Kharj, Al Majma’ah, and Shaqra’, the completion of university cities in a number of existing universities and provisions for the setting up technical colleges and new vocational institutes.
Over SR61bn has been allocated for the health sector, to continue raising the level of health services and support for social programs, as the budget includes new health projects to complete the installation and equipping of primary health care centres across the Kingdom and the establishment of eight new hospitals and the development of infrastructure for 19 existing hospitals. In the area of social services, the budget included new projects establishing sports clubs and social care and rehabilitation centres, and funds needed to support social welfare programs.
Some SR22bn has been allocated for the municipal services sector, including new municipal projects and additions to some existing projects. Allocations for the transport and communications sector amounted to about SR24bn for new projects and additions to previously approved projects.
The total allocated funds for the water, industry, agriculture sectors and other basic equipment amount to nearly SR46bn. This will go towards providing drinking water, sanitation services, and infrastructure and facilities in the industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu, as well as projects to prepare the infrastructure for the mining industry in Ras Al-Zour.
Just as in previous years, the budget has affirmed the balance between sectors, and balanced development between regions. The King has placed emphasis “on the strict and faithful implementation of the budget’s programs and projects, and on ministers and heads of governmental bodies to follow closely what is being implemented, without any fault or negligence and to sense the responsibility, which endured before God and us, and on regulatory bodies to play their role to the fullest and to report back at every stage of progress.”
Tuesday, January 12- 2010 @ 11:17 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.