SR4.4 trillion spending drives growth

Updated 12 June 2015
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SR4.4 trillion spending drives growth

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s total spending on development projects during the past five years reached SR4.4 trillion, with 30 percent of the amount going to capital projects, said Fahd Al-Mubarak, governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.
The SAMA chief made this comment after presenting the central bank’s 50th and 51st annual reports to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman during a reception at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday.
King Salman expressed his satisfaction over the Kingdom’s financial situation as a result of its security and stability. He commended SAMA’s role in strengthening the national economy and implementing monetary policies.
Al-Mubarak expected the Kingdom to make comprehensive economic growth during 2015 and the coming years.
He praised the king for adopting a series of decisions and measures to restructure economic sectors to make them competent to support best utilization of the country’s economic resources.
The two reports covered monetary, banking and financial developments in 2013 and 2014. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Deputy SAMA Gov. Abdul Aziz Al-Fareeh and other senior officials attended the reception.
“The national economy has achieved good results in 2014 with GDP making an actual growth rate of 3.5 percent, exceeding the rate of 2.7 percent achieved in 2013 and the world average of 3.4 percent,” Al-Mubarak told the king.
During 2014, the private sector achieved a growth rate of 5.6 percent while the public spending rose to SR1.11 trillion or 40 percent of the GDP. Public debts were brought down to 1.6 percent of the GDP while the balance of payment recorded a surplus of SR288 billion.
“This is the 16th consecutive year, the balance of payment is making surplus,” the governor pointed out. The cost of living index has been brought down gradually from 6 percent in 2008 to 2.8 percent in 2014.
Al-Mubarak said the monetary and banking sector has contributed to boosting economic activity during the year by providing liquidity required to finance projects. Total liquidity rose by 12 percent in 2014.
The governor said SAMA continued its role in executing the Kingdom’s monetary policies to preserve its liquidity level and ensure price stability.
It backed the Saudi riyal’s exchange rate to serve economic and business activities.
“SAMA’s monitoring of banks and insurance companies has contributed to strengthening the economy with international rating agencies giving Saudi Arabia excellent ratings.
This has strengthened the Kingdom’s economic stability and enabled it to attract domestic and foreign investors,” he explained.
The Kingdom’s economic policies addressed vital issues such as development of the national manpower, modernization of infrastructure, diversification of production base, and fall in oil prices.
Al-Mubarak noted Saudi Arabia’s role in ensuring global oil market stability and its efforts to grab a reasonable share of international oil market. He also stressed the need for diversification of revenue sources instead of depending on a single source that is depleting fast.
“Training and employment of young Saudis and providing them with housing are other challenges facing the country.”
He said the fall in oil prices since the middle of last year posed a big challenge to the national economy. “This demands necessary measures to make optimum use of resources to continue the Kingdom’s development march.”
Meanwhile, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif also received copies of the two SAMA reports from Al-Mubarak in the presence of Finance Minister Al-Assaf. “Banks continued to provide their financial services in all parts through branches, ATMs and e-channels,” the governor said. Insurance premiums rose by 20 percent to reach more than SR30 billion, he added.


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 39 min 50 sec ago
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.