Saudi Arabia plans to increase spending in 2019

Saudi Arabia’s preliminary estimated revenue for the 2019 state budget is around SAR 978 billion, an increase of 11 percent compared to the expected revenue for 2018, the Kingdom’s finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said at a conference in Riyadh on Sunday.

State expenditure is estimated at SAR 1,106 billion, with a budget deficit of about SAR 128 billion in 2019. The Kingdom plans to increase spending more than expected to boost growth and diversify its economy, Al-Jadaan added.

Looking forward, the ministry in 2020 expects revenues of SAR 1,005 billion. State expenditure is forecast at SAR 1,143 billion, while the budget deficit is anticipated at SAR 138 billion.

Revenue is expected to rise at an annual rate of 6 percent to reach SAR 1,045 billion in 2021, while debt is projected to account for around 25 percent of GDP in 2021.

Meanwhile, the deficit is expected to continue to decline gradually over the medium term, from 4.1 percent of GDP in 2019 to 3.7 percent of GDP in 2021.

Saudi Arabia saw GDP growth of 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018, compared to a negative growth of 0.8 percent for the same period of last year.

This was driven by a 1.6 percent increase in non-oil GDP, compared to negative growth of 0.3 percent in the year earlier period.

The Kingdom expects GDP growth of 2.1 percent this year, and 2.3 percent in 2019. GDP growth is anticipated at 2.2 percent in 2020 and 2.4 percent in 2021.

The finance ministry on Sunday for the first time held a conference to announce preliminary estimates for the upcoming year’s budget.

Al-Jadaan added that the Kingdom is keen to continue boosting transparency and financial disclosures, in line with Saudi Vision 2030. This also helps attract more investments and create more job opportunities, he added.