Ministers, experts and businessmen hail new Saudi state budget

Finance Minister: Budget focuses on projects, key sectors in infrastructure

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Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf said that the new budget for the year 1433-1434 is an extension of the previous budgets regarding the implementation of developmental projects focusing on key projects in infrastructures, social and education sectors.

He reported that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been very keen and constantly following up two important topics including implementation of his order to build 500,000 housing units for citizens and the implementation of Haramain Train.

He explained in a television interview with Saudi First Channel that the estimates of revenues for the next year are higher than the current year, the expenditures higher than the previous year amounted to SR 690 billion, and the surplus amounting to SR12 billion.

Assaf said that Saudi Arabia's industrial sector has grown by 15 percent and that this percentage is considered high in the Kingdom or other countries, noting that the Saudi economy has not achieved such a growth in this sector with this percentage for more than 20 years.

In a statement telecast by 'Al-Ekhbariyah' Channel this week, Dr. Al-Assaf said, 'The private sector constitutes now in real terms more than 49% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)', describing it as a large volume of an asset.

Assaf pointed out that what has been submitted to the cabinet has three aspects: the first is the performance of the budget this year, the second is related to the estimate of the revenues and its approved expenditures and the third and last is the performance of the whole national economy.

The first aspect has witnessed, during the year, a growth in revenues due to the significant growth of petroleum income which reached its highest percentage or rate in the whole history of the Kingdom, which means that it exceeded its income three years ago in 2008, he added.

On the expenditures side, there were an increase, but it was a reasonable one, due to the royal orders issued to pay 2-month salary as well as to raise some funds for social security and other issues-affecting citizens' interests, he remarked.

The budget of the forthcoming year has depended on the basis of allocating SR690 billion for expenditures and SR702 billion for revenues, thus, with a surplus of SR12 billion, he stated.

For the third aspect of the budget, which relates to the performance of the national economy, the results for this year are among the best, since a very long time, almost more than 20 years, either on the growth scale, generally speaking, or on the growth of several sectors in addition to the balance of payments, the surplus in the balance of trade and the surplus in the current transactions, he confirmed.

These results asserts that the Saudi economy and the financial position of the Kingdom are moving on the right path and in accordance with the plan and falling in line with the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, he pointed out.

On the new projects, the Minister pointed to the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to use the biggest amount of the surplus of the budget, SR250 billion, to finance the royal order to build 500,000 housing units, which means that the earmarked fund will not be vulnerable to any negative impacts, God forbids, that may affect the fiscal aspects of the state budget in addition to allocating part of that fund for the Public Investment Fund to compensate it for financing the Two Holy Mosques Train (Haramain).

These two issues are under the direct interest and follow up of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Minister reaffirmed, adding that the King wants these projects to be implemented without any disruptions or obstructions, thus he issued his noble orders to allocate these funds and be set in an independent account at Saudi Monetary Agency relating to housing.

The minister said that the Ministry of Housing has already signed the contract for the design and supervision of these units, and hopefully, the effective implementation of these projects will take place shortly in addition to the completion of what was previously dedicated to housing units, which are undergoing now.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah said that the State's budget for the fiscal year 1433-1434AH approved by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, reflects the strong economic performance of Saudi Arabia, which puts the Kingdom in a strong position to face the risks and crises surrounding the world economy in 2012, as well as to face periodical fluctuations in oil prices.

He said in a statement on the occasion of the issuance of the State's budget that the high figures of the revenues in the State's budget have been achieved through the directives and policy of the wise Government, aiming to advance the development of the Kingdom in industrial, commercial, educational, health, social and cultural sectors.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education for Scholarship Affairs Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Moussa has expressed his thanks to and appreciation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince for allocating 24% of the expenditures of the State's budget for education.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Al-Moussa said that the State's budget has approved the continuation of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program of Foreign Scholarship whose expenditures amount to approximately SR 20 billion at the end of the current fiscal year.

Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabiah hailed the generous support for the health services being extended by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior to provide comprehensive health-care coverage for the citizens in all parts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement on the occasion of the issuance of the budget for the Fiscal Year (FY) 1433/1434 AH, he said, 'This unlimited support has had a great impact on raising the level of performance of health facilities.'

He stated that the health sector received a substantial portion of the budget's funds, pointing out that the Ministry of Health will complete the implementation and development of several health projects in various regions and governorates of the Kingdom with a total cost of SR41 billion.

Meanwhile, Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Najran lauded the royal directives and guidelines contained in the state budget for the fiscal year 1433-1434H (2012) to bring about welfare and enrichment of all citizens to enable them live decent lives.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, the Governor prayed to Allah Almighty to preserve the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and the Crown, bless them to serve the country and its citizens, and fulfill the needs of the country through development projects in various fields.

'The new fiscal year's budget, the largest budget unveiled in the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, clearly reflects the keen interest of the leadership in continuing implementation of projects in all regions of the Kingdom in the sectors of education, health, housing, training areas, water and municipal projects and social security,' the Governor noted.

Prince Mishaal also highlighted the large-scale services provided to pilgrims and Umrah performers and the gigantic expansion projects undertaken by the government of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz at the Two Holy Mosques and the holy sites.

He singled out the diligent preparation of the new fiscal year budget and noted the determination of the state to ensure for Saudi citizens a high level of well-being and a decent life.

Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah said Najran region will have this year, the execution of several projects in various areas of interest to citizens and achieve their needs.

On completion of these projects, the citizens will benefit from these large-scale services and facilities and take advantage from implementation and completion of these projects, especially in roads, drinking water and sanitation, housing and health.

He asked Allah Almighty to preserve the King and the Crown Prince and protect them to continue the process of construction, development and progress of this country and its loyal people.