Saudi bud­get deficit halved in H1 2017

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

RIYADH:

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.

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