Saudi to spend $53bn from budget surplus
Riyadh, December 31, 2012
The transport infrastructure projects in major cities across Saudi Arabia will be allocated SR200 billion ($53.3 billion) from the budget surplus of 2012, said a report citing the country's finance minister.
With this allocation, the Kingdom's total spending in 2013 will rise to more than SR1 trillion ($266.6 billion), the Arab News reported.
Saudi King Abdullah had on Saturday unveiled the country’s largest budget that projected spending at SR820 billion in 2013.
The 2013 budget reflected the government’s desire to achieve sustainable development by supporting vital infrastructure and welfare projects across the country, said the report citing the Kingdom's finance minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.
During the past 10 years, the government has spent more than SR1.5 trillion on infrastructure development and welfare projects and this huge spending has been the driving force of the national economy, the report added.
“We have not yet finalized the 2012 surplus because of new expenditures and revenues, especially nonoil revenues,” the minister told Al-Arabiya channel. He said the remaining amount from the surplus of an estimated SR386 billion would be kept in public reserve.
The minister said the government decided to make special allocations for these city transport projects considering their strategic importance. “We have done this before for housing and cutting down public debts,” he said.
Earlier, Saudi had announced its plan to modernize public transport systems in major cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Makkah.
The design work on the Jeddah metro project is almost complete, the transport minister Jabara Al-Seraisry was quoted as saying.
The planned mass transit system in Jeddah also includes a bus service using 816 buses to link metro stations with all the residential districts in the city. Buses will run 750 km in various districts and have 2,950 stops.
Two metro projects will come up in Riyadh and Makkah, the report stated. "While the six routes of the Riyadh project will be 181 km long, the Makkah metro is projected to be 182 km with six branches."
More than SR62 billion has been allocated for the Makkah mass transport system including metro and bus networks, it added.