Saudi budget deficit halved in H1 2017
Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit halved in the first six months of this year, the finance ministry said yesterday, following sweeping spending cuts and a stabilization in oil prices.
The ultra-conservative kingdom has moved to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy following a sharp fall in crude prices. The budget deficit dropped by 51 percent to 72 billion riyals ($19.2 billion, 16.2 billion euros) in the first half of 2017, the finance ministry announced.
“This result reflects an improvement in the management of public finances as a result of economic reform introduced through Vision 2030,” said Saad Al-Shahrani, a high-ranking ministry official.
The Vision 2030 plan, announced by the kingdom last year, aims to develop Saudi Arabia’s industrial and investment base and boost smalland medium-sized businesses to create local jobs and reduce reliance on oil revenue. It is the second budget report released by Riyadh since the authorities announced in May they would begin issuing the figures on a quarterly basis to boost transparency.