Saudi Arabia’s budget for 2020 has been approved with an estimated deficit of $49.87bn (SAR 187bn), as the government aims to invest more into social programmes and its economic diversification efforts.
Revenue is estimated at $222.14bn (SAR 833bn), and expenditure at $270bn (SAR 1.02trn).
"We are determined - with Allah's help - to continue implementing economic reforms, diversifying sources of income, including investing proceeds of Saudi Aramco by the Public Investment Fund, optimizing the use of available resources, empowering the private sector, and raising the level of transparency and efficiency of government spending to boost growth and development rates," said King Salman bin Abdulaziz, according to a report by Saudi Press Agency.
He continued to note that the expenditure planned for 2020 would go towards developing basic services for citizens, improving government services, bolstering social protection programmes, supporting housing plans, and generally increasing the quality of life in the kingdom.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the deficit in 2019 is expected to reach about 4.7% of GDP, compared with 5.9% in 2018 and 9.3% in 2017. He added that the reforms that have been implemented since 2016 have started to yield results in financial and economic performance.
"Some of these programs and schedules are revised to implement them in order to ensure that they achieve the intended return, while continuing to develop and modernise the government infrastructure and services," the crown prince said.
He noted an increase in the real GDP growth rates of the non-oil sector, according to the SPA report, and emphasised the importance of engaging with the private sector to further develop the kingdom’s economy.
"We aim to create an attractive investment environment that contributes in directing the national economy towards wider prospects of diversification, growth and prosperity,” he said. “The government will continue to move forward in implementing the stages of economic transformation and progress in diversifying the productive base in the economy while maintaining financial sustainability and providing wider opportunities for a better future for the current and upcoming generations.”
"Budget 2020 comes in light of a global economic climate that prevails challenges, risks and protectionist policies, which requires flexibility in managing the public finances and enhancing the ability of the economy to address these challenges and risks,” he added. “We aim, through this budget, to take advantage of what has been achieved from programs and build on it, so that the balance is continued between the pace of economic growth rates and the maintaining of sustainable financial stability that ensures support for this growth.”
He noted that Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering is a major step in developing the participation of the private sector in the nation’s economy.