Saudi reforms paying off as giga-projects surge ahead

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Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects NEOM, Qiddiya and the Red Sea tourism development are surging ahead.
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Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects NEOM, Qiddiya and the Red Sea tourism development are surging ahead.
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Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects NEOM, Qiddiya and the Red Sea tourism development are surging ahead.
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Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects NEOM, Qiddiya and the Red Sea tourism development are surging ahead.
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Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan.(File photo)
Updated 26 October 2018

Saudi reforms paying off as giga-projects surge ahead

  • The country’s non-oil revenues surged by almost half in the third quarter compared to the same time last year, says Saudi finance minister
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged to reduce what he has called the Kingdom’s “addiction” to oil

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s plan to wean itself off dependence on oil is paying off, while its biggest development projects are moving on unhindered, an investment forum heard on Thursday.

The country’s non-oil revenues surged by almost half in the third quarter compared to the same time last year, the Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan told the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.

That is in line with the aims of the Vision 2030 reform program, under which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged to reduce what he has called the Kingdom’s “addiction” to oil.

Al-Jadaan called the increase “significant,” and forecast that the deficit in the Kingdom’s budget — which was hit hard by the crash in oil prices — would fall further this year. 

“The fiscal balance is really about sustainability. On its own it’s not really a target… what is really important is to maintain a balanced budget over the medium term while being very flexible,” he said. 

He spoke during the last day of the FII conference, at which agreements worth $60 billion were announced over three days, with more than 4,000 participants in attendance.

On the final day, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced a series of preliminary deals worth $3.7 billion across the housing and construction sectors. 

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, chief executive of the $500 billion NEOM megacity project, said talks with prospective partners were continuing, despite the international fallout from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.


China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

Updated 12 December 2019

China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

  • China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane
  • China was first country to ground plane in March

BEIJING: China’s aviation regulator raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co. on the reliability and security of design changes to the grounded 737 MAX, it said on Thursday, but declined to comment on when the plane might fly again in China.
China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane based on proposed changes to software and flight control systems according to a bilateral agreement with the United States, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) spokesman Liu Luxu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
He reiterated that for the plane to resume flights in China, it needed to be re-certified, pilots needed comprehensive and effective training to restore confidence in the model and the causes of two crashes that killed 346 people needed to be investigated with effective measures put in place to prevent another one.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX after the second crash in Ethiopia in March and had set up a task force to review design changes to the aircraft that Boeing had submitted.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of 2019, its chief, Steve Dickson, said on Wednesday.
Once the FAA approves the reintroduction into service, the 737 MAX can operate in the United States, but individual regulators could keep the planes grounded in other countries until they complete their own reviews.
“Due to the trade war, the jury is still out on when China would reintroduce the aircraft,” said Rob Morris, Global Head of Consultancy at Ascend by Cirium.
Chinese airlines had 97 737 MAX jets in operation before the global grounding, the most of any country, according to Cirium Fleets Analyzer.