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.


Abdul-Mahdi: Relations between Iraq and GCC ‘must progress’

Updated 17 min 28 sec ago
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Abdul-Mahdi: Relations between Iraq and GCC ‘must progress’

  • Abdul-Mahdi and Al-Zayani discussed the development of relations between Iraq and GCC countries and issues of mutual interest
  • Abdul-Mahdi also attended the Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum, which included representatives from large Saudi companies

RIYADH: Relations between Iraq and the Gulf Cooperation Council are important and “must progress, ” Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said on Thursday.
On the second day of his visit to Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Mahdi met with the secretary general of the GCC, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani in Riyadh.
Abdul-Mahdi and Al-Zayani discussed the development of relations between Iraq and GCC countries and issues of mutual interest.
“Cooperation and economic relations must progress for the better,” Abdul-Mahdi said.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have agreed to cooperate in security and intelligence matters, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim told Al Arabiya television. 
Meanwhile, Abdul-Mahdi also attended the Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum, which included representatives from large Saudi companies.
He also inaugurated an exhibition on Wednesday called “Cities Destroyed by Terrorism” that is showing at the National Museum in Riyadh. The exhibition was organised by the Minister of Culture and the Arab World Institute in Paris.
The Iraqi prime minister arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday for a two-day visit to the Kingdom. He held talks with King Salman on relations between the two countries, and later met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


His visit to the Kingdom “symbolizes the Iraqi government's vision in aiming to bolster ties with the Kingdom in all fields,” the Iraqi prime minister said on Facebook.
The two countries signed 13 agreements and memorandums of understanding between their various ministries. The deals covered many areas including energy, education, culture and political consultation.