Finance Ministry confirms strong Saudi economic fundamentals

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan
Updated 22 March 2017

Finance Ministry confirms strong Saudi economic fundamentals

RIYADH: The Finance Ministry on Wednesday said Fitch Ratings Inc.’s outlook for the Saudi economy has moved from negative to stable, adding that the recent downgrade to the sovereign rating was based on a quantitative, number-driven analysis and was anticipated.
The ministry said 2016 projected revenues are SR528 billion ($141 billion), of which SR199 billion represent the non-oil sector, or 38 percent of total revenues.
The ministry said last year saw the launch of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP), which among many other initiatives will contribute to reaching a balanced budget by 2020.
The government has increased its funding flexibility by tapping external credit markets for the first time and opening up local capital markets to foreign investors, the ministry said, adding that the Kingdom’s oil policy has resulted in a more stable global oil price environment.
Meanwhile, the Saudi economy has structurally aligned itself to a lower oil price environment, as reflected in a more sustainable balancing price for its fiscal and current accounts.
Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said: “The fundamentals of the Saudi economy remain strong as the Kingdom’s balance sheet remains strong, with SAMA’s FX assets estimated at 84 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the third-largest in GDP terms globally. General government assets are considerably above 100 percent of GDP.”
He added: “Through Vision 2030, a number of concrete structural measures have already been rolled out, with the twin goals of decreasing the Kingdom’s fiscal dependence on hydrocarbons and encouraging economic diversification. The government has also made considerable progress in enhancing efficiency by reigning in overspending and optimizing expenditure.”
He concluded: “These efforts have been made possible through strengthened governance, institutionalization of structural reforms and enhanced transparency.”


Four Saudi students to compete at international science and engineering fair

Updated 32 min 10 sec ago

Four Saudi students to compete at international science and engineering fair

  • Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition
  • The four women from Jeddah were winners at the Kingdom’s National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity

RIYADH: Four Saudi students will represent the Kingdom at a major international science and engineering fair in the US later this year.

The four women from Jeddah were winners at the Kingdom’s National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity. They will be competing against more than 1,700 students from 77 countries at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) for more than $5 million in awards and scholarships.

The Saudi students traveling to Arizona in May are Dan Mohammed Al-Yafei and Tharaa Tariq Al-Dabbagh, who won an award at the olympiad in the field of science and the environment, and Lana Fahd Al-Abbasi and Zeina Tariq Maimani, who won in the field of physics and astronomy.

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition and is an opportunity for young minds around the world to share ideas and showcase cutting-edge projects.

Intel ISEF says the winners are selected on their creative ability, scientific thought, as well as the thoroughness, skill and clarity shown in their projects.

Former Intel ISEF participant Wud Al-Saadoon won first place in the finals of the Kingdom’s National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity after working extensively on her project. She discovered her passion for science when she was in third grade, passing all aptitude tests for elementary, intermediate and high school and registering in Mawhiba enrichment programs starting from elementary school to high school.

“These programs allow students to enrol temporarily in a Saudi university,” she told Arab News. “This is how I participated as a high school student in the second olympiad program before I enrolled at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.”

She specialized in renewable chemical energy and made a special device which won her third place in a local competition.

She then qualified for Intel ISEF, where she won fourth place in the field of chemical energy last year.