Saudi Arabia announces $333bn budget; spending to stay
RIYADH, December 8, 2023
The Saudi government has approved a budget of SAR1.25 trillion ($333.26 billion) for 2024 and expects a budget deficit equivalent to around 1.9% of GDP.
The estimated total revenues is SAR1.172 trillion in 2024. The government will continue ‘funding and supporting the implementation of programs, initiatives, and economic transformation projects in line with Saudi Vision 2030’, it said.
Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan acknowledged that some of the Vision 2030 projects could be expanded beyond the present deadline.
Saudi Arabia’s Q3 GDP was confirmed at a contraction of -4.4% y/y, broadly in line with the initial expectation of -4.5%. The oil sector contracted -17%, modestly slighted than the initial -17.3%, while the non-oil GDP rose 3.5%, slightly weaker than the initial 3.6%.
With oil production cuts set to be maintained through the start of 2024 the oil sector will remain under pressure, but the non-oil economy will likely maintain a robust pace of growth given strong new orders growth in the PMI survey, and the supportive government spending confirmed in the budget.
Al-Jadaan highlighted the success of the ongoing economic transformation spearheaded by the government and said the 2024 budget is poised to continue the trajectory of success, aligning with the national strategies closely linked to the goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030 and national priorities, reinforcing the commitment to long-term sustainable development.
Responding to a question by Arab News on Expo 2030, the minister said: “The country that is capable of receiving and building the infrastructure to accommodate 150 million individuals, can host our guests at Expo 2030 without increasing costs.”
“The infrastructure and projects planned for construction in the Kingdom, particularly in Riyadh, from now until 2030 as outlined in the early stages of the vision, including the transportation and logistical services strategy, tourism strategy, expansion in hotel construction, and also the expansion of water projects, will be sufficient to provide the necessary infrastructure for hosting the expo and potentially three other expos,” he said.
He added that the Expo village will be a commercial property, built by commercial companies and will be invested in beyond the six months.
Al-Jadaan emphasised Saudi Vision 2030 and the set of projects, initiatives, and measures included in the vision. He also highlighted the Kingdom’s initial plan to welcome 100 million visitors and revealed that the number will increase to 150 million by 2030.
The minister said in a statement that the government is working on continuing borrowing according to the approved annual borrowing plan to finance the expected budget deficit and repay the outstanding debt by 2024.