Riyadh to spend $27 billion on industry plan

Saudi government to inject $27 billion into flagging industrial sector
2 min read
28 January, 2019
Saudi Arabia's deputy minister of energy said the kingdom will spend 100 billion riyals ($27 billion) in 2019 and 2020 as part of its industrial development program
Saudi Arabia is attempting to wean the economy off oil [Getty]
Saudi Arabia will splash out 100 billion riyals ($27 billion) in 2019 and 2020 to boost its industrial sector, authorities revealed on Monday.

The kingdom will make the move as as part of its industrial development programme, Aabed Abdullah al-Saadoun, deputy minister of energy, industry and mineral resources said on Monday.

The programme offers investment opportunities in mining, industry, logistics and energy sectors inside the kingdom, an official document stated.

He noted investors are given the opportunity to invest in projects such as plants that manufacture rubber, catalysts and vehicles, Reuters reported.

Last month, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih confirmed the kingdom's 2019 budget allocated SAR 33 billion ($9 billion) for the energy, industry, mining and logistics sectors - three times more than the previous budget.

It came as King Salman announced his country's expenditures will hit a record-high in 2019, even as declining oil prices force the kingdom to adopt austerity measures.

The monarch said that the Saudi government expects revenue to increase by more than 9 percent to hit $260 billion, leaving a projected deficit of $35 billion - less than previous years.

Total revenue in 2018 reached $239 billion, with expenditures of $274.5 billion.

"This budget is a continuation of the government's policy of focusing on fundamental citizen services and the development of government services," the king said at a government meeting that included ministers and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The deputy minister's remarks on Monday were made amid a Saudi Arabian industrial development conference in Riyadh on Monday, where agreements worth 235 billion riyals ($63 billion) were signed.

No details were available on the nature of the agreements, however, the kingdom's recent ambitions to boost diversification in these key sectors to create jobs for Saudis is part of a wider vision to wean the economy off oil.

Vision 2030 is the brain child of controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It has already been badly affected by poor economic management and investors staying away from the kingdom following the mass arrest of businessmen and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October.

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