Saudi Arabia revises budget estimates for 2023 on ‘expansionary spending’ policies

Special Saudi Arabia revises budget estimates for 2023 on ‘expansionary spending’ policies
Non-oil revenues are expected to be a key growth driver in the Kingdom, and this shall support higher spending in the future, Alrajhi Capital says. (Shutterstock image)
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Updated 01 October 2023
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Saudi Arabia revises budget estimates for 2023 on ‘expansionary spending’ policies

Saudi Arabia revises budget estimates for 2023 on ‘expansionary spending’ policies
  • Kingdom’s debt-to-GDP ration to remain below 27%, analyst tells Arab News

RIYADH: Lowering its growth forecast for 2023, Saudi Arabia expects to post a budget deficit this year rather than an earlier projected surplus, mainly due to “expansionary” spending policies and “conservative revenue estimates.”

Saudi Arabia will continue its fiscal and structural reforms as the Kingdom is steadily embarking on its economic diversification journey in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030, said Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan.

He said that continuous implementation of the ambitious plan is necessary for the Kingdom to catalyze its economic growth and maintain fiscal sustainability.

A preliminary budget statement issued on Saturday showed that the largest Arab economy expects real gross domestic product to grow by 0.03 percent this year compared with a previous forecast for growth of 3.1 percent.

The document also projected the government would post a budget deficit of 1.9 percent of the gross domestic project in 2024, 1.6 percent of GDP in 2025, and 2.3 percent of GDP in 2026. It said “limited budget deficits” would continue in the medium term.

Meanwhile, total expenditure is seen rising to SR1.262 billion in 2023, from an earlier estimate of SR1.114 billion, before slowing down marginally to SR1.251 billion in 2024.

However, the Kingdom’s debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to remain below 27 percent due to a gradual decrease in the deficit over the coming years, Mazen Al-Sudairi, head of research at Al Rajhi Capital told Arab News.

“The (budget) deficit is expected to decrease gradually over the coming years, keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio below 27 percent, well below the government’s target of 30 percent,” the analyst said.

Borrowing plan

Al-Sudairi said most of the deficit would be funded through borrowing, demonstrating prudent fiscal management.

According to the ministry, the government is now expecting an SR82 billion ($21.8 billion) deficit for 2023 instead of an SR16 billion surplus projected earlier.

For 2024, the government expects total revenues at SR1.172 trillion and total spending of SR1.251 trillion.

Commenting on the budget statement, Al-Jadaan said the government program will help Saudi Arabia develop promising economic sectors, enhance investment attractions, stimulate industrial growth, raise the percentage of local content, and promote non-oil exports.

The ministry currently expects budget deficits to last through 2026, the statement said.

Saudi Arabia is working to prepare an annual borrowing plan in accordance with a medium-term debt strategy and “access global debt markets to enhance the Kingdom’s position in international markets,” the Finance Ministry said.

Non-oil GDP

The budget statement touted growth in non-oil sectors, whose revenue jumped by 11 percent in the first half of the year.

Commenting on the non-oil sector, Al-Sudairi stressed the importance of focusing on the non-oil GDP, which is expected to grow by 5.9 percent in 2023 and over 4 percent in the following year.

“This growth above 4 percent is very healthy and will help diversify the non-oil economy, creating new sectors and segments inside the economy.”

The expert also highlighted the significance of cities and service-based industries in the Saudi economy.

He stated: “The Vision 2030 concentrates on cities. With the global economy becoming more service-based, cities become much more important as service industries thrive.”


Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector focussing on small investors, minister says

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef. (@BAlkhorayef)
Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef. (@BAlkhorayef)
Updated 12 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector focussing on small investors, minister says

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef. (@BAlkhorayef)
  • AlKhorayef said that the ministry has a financing program with simple conditions for small investors and entrepreneurs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector has recently focused on small investors, the Kingdom’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef has said.

Speaking to Al-Ekhbariya TV, the minister said that the ministry has a financing program with simple conditions for small investors and entrepreneurs.

The minister indicated that the business model of industrial cities, like the MODON oasis in Al-Ahsa, created a new opportunity for a certain type of investor and industry.

He added that most of the spaces in the industrial cities will be made up of ready-built factories, as this will largely reduce the financial burden on the investor, shorten the construction period, and facilitate obtaining the necessary licenses.


Ministry of Economy and Planning signs MoU with Saudi National Institute of Health

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Saudi National Institute of Health sign a MoU.
Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Saudi National Institute of Health sign a MoU.
Updated 29 February 2024
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Ministry of Economy and Planning signs MoU with Saudi National Institute of Health

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Saudi National Institute of Health sign a MoU.
  • MoU aims to develop and align the strategic direction of national development priorities and economic policies in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi National Institute of Health, the ministry announced on Thursday.

The MoU aims to develop and align the strategic direction of national development priorities and economic policies in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

It also aims to enable the decision-making process through the preparation of methodologies and studies, the ministry said.

As part of the MoU, scientific and hands-on experiences will be exchanged and both parties will prepare studies and research related to their work in order to improve quality.

They will also organize joint workshops and training courses to enhance capabilities and skills, and benefit from the infrastructure and public facilities of both parties.


Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth
Updated 29 February 2024
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Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

Diriyah Co. CEO lauds Saudi efforts to empower youth

RIYADH: Leadership and empowerment insights took center stage during a workshop at the Human Capability Initiative, with industry leaders delving into the future of Saudi Arabia’s workforce. 

In a “What If?” talk at the Riyadh event, Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of Diriyah Co., addressed young Saudis, urging them to dream big and sharing insights from his own journey. 

He said: “Please dream big. There was nothing in between you and your dreams that you cannot accomplish.”  

Inzerillo emphasized the importance of self-esteem and dignity in leadership, signaling a departure from traditional hierarchical models toward more inclusive and empowering approaches. 

Praising the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Inzerillo expressed gratitude for the unprecedented support provided to initiatives like the Human Capability Initiative.  

Inzerillo commended the substantial investment in training and development facilitated by the crown prince, highlighting its significance in equipping the next generation with the skills necessary to navigate the challenges of an ever-evolving technological landscape.  

“In a 50-year career, I’ve never had the training and development budget that the crown prince has given us,” he remarked. 

“We are marching forward to 2030; we are marching positively. We believe in ourselves and those who will help us on our mission.”  

Inzerillo said that as of yesterday, they had 2,419 employees, with 85 percent of the staff being Saudi. 

“Now, 39 percent of our Saudi staff are women superstars. And those 39 percent of my Saudi women superstars boss me around on a daily basis more than the 61 percent of the boys.”  

The CEO shared his impressions of the young Saudi talent present at the event and said: “In New York, we have a saying, when you’re very excited, you have goosebumps. That’s the way I feel right now. Because just being backstage for a moment, and seeing all of the young talented Saudis, to me it’s like a thunderbolt of energy.” 

Inzerillo concluded with a resounding call to action, reminding every individual of their potential to contribute to the realization of Vision 2030. “Every single individual is capable of contributing to Vision 2030 and should.”  


Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah
Updated 29 February 2024
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Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

Siemens inaugurates electrical equipment facility in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Multinational technology company Siemens unveiled its new electrical equipment factory in Jeddah in the presence of the Kingdom’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef.

In partnership with its Saudi partner, Arabia Electric Ltd Equipment Co, the firm inaugurated the facility on Feb. 29 at the Modon Oasis in Jeddah.

The 6,000 sq. m factory produces electrical equipment such as substation automation systems, communication and protection panels, and other products for the utility, oil and gas, infrastructure, and petrochemical industries.

The facility will operate with a 120-person workforce.

In an interview with Arab News, the minister of industry highlighted that establishing factories by major international companies in the Kingdom indicates the country’s capability to accommodate diverse industries. Moreover, he underscored that “Saudi Made” branding will soon adorn Lucid automobiles.

“Saudi Arabia remains committed to its strategy as we have created a favorable environment for industrial investment, allowing industry investors to strengthen their capabilities within the Kingdom. This endeavor goes beyond serving the local market, aiming to expand exports to both the region and worldwide,” Alkhorayef said.

He added that the country industry clusters in Saudi Arabia can be divided into two types: “One is the industrial zones and the Modon Oases, like this one here in Jeddah. We are also working closely with several industries that need to exist in clusters to create a sort of integration between them, such as the car manufacturing cluster. We have previous experience in such clusters, like the ones of petrochemicals in Jubail and Yanbu.” 

He revealed that they are planning to establish a food manufacturing cluster in Jazan as well as a mineral industry cluster in Ras Al-Khair in the country’s Eastern Province.

Commenting on the inauguration of the Siemens factory in Jeddah, Alkhorayef congratulated the German company for establishing the facility.

“This move by Siemens serves as proof that the opportunities in Saudi Arabia position it as a significant hub for manufacturing companies,” he remarked, emphasizing that the electricity sector stands out as one of the largest divisions experiencing substantial growth.

The minister elaborated, stating: “We will persist in attracting numerous investments, leveraging capabilities previously imported from outside the Kingdom, and even exporting products developed within the country.”

Alkhorayef concluded his interview with Arab News by asserting that Saudi Arabia is earnestly prioritizing nationalization.

He highlighted that the country’s industrial strategy capitalizes on its inherent strengths, including robust domestic demand and abundant raw materials such as oil, gas, petrochemicals, and minerals.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographical location further enhances its appeal to both local and international companies.

Ahmad Hawsawi, CEO of Siemens in Saudi Arabia, said that the company is proud to contribute to the Kingdom’s journey toward an innovative and sustainable future.

“Our new factory in Jeddah is not just a manufacturing facility; it’s a hub of innovation designed to meet the Kingdom’s growing demands for energy solutions. By deploying Siemens’ cutting-edge technologies, Saudi Arabia is set to witness unparalleled improvements in the efficiency and resilience of its energy systems.” Hawsawi said.

Eltje Aderhold, consul general of Germany, said that she is “very proud” of this cooperation between Saudi Arabia and her country.

“This project represents the good development of cooperation between Germany and Saudi Arabia, and it is a sign that we are building our future together,” she said, adding that German companies and their Saudi partners are increasingly coming together.

Aderhold further said that Germany is “very much interested in working with its Saudi partners toward Vision 2030, investing, transforming new, clean energy, protecting climate and developing new technologies.” 

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Vice Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources for Industrial Affairs Khalil Salamah, along with executives from the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority and the National Industrial Development Center.

Additional firms in attendance included the Saudi Electricity Co., Aramco, and SABIC, as well as Ma’aden, EA Juffali & Brothers, and other prominent government and private sector companies.

Khaled Juffali, chairman of Ebrahim A. Juffali and Brothers Group, and also a member of the Arabia Electric Equipment Co. board and Siemens in Saudi Arabia, said: “We are thrilled to open our new facility in Jeddah, which represents our strong belief in the potential of Saudi Arabia’s economic development plan.

"Our commitment goes beyond investment in infrastructure; we are here to build partnerships, support talent development, and contribute to the Kingdom’s sustainability goals according to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.” 

 


Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 

Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 
Updated 29 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 

Saudi Arabia’s first School of Public Policy to launch masters programs in September: top official 

RIYADH: The School of Public Policy at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center will commence offering masters degree courses in September 2024, confirmed a top official. 

In an interview with Arab News, Ghadah Al-Arifi, founding dean of the school, stated that this educational institution, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, will initially attract individuals already in the job market for its new program. 

Al-Arifi said: “We have already started offering executive training and education through several programs with international and national partners. In 2023, we trained over 600 employees in the private, government and nonprofit sectors in 17 organizations.”  

On the first day of the Human Capability Initiative, KAPSARC announced obtaining an establishment license for its School of Public Policy. The school aims to set groundbreaking standards in policy studies through two-year master’s degree and executive education programs. 

“In September 2024, we will start our academic programs by offering a master’s in public policy. In terms of the master programs, we are looking to attract people who are already in the job market,” said the dean.  

To enroll in the master’s degree program, candidates are required to hold a graduate degree and demonstrate proficiency in English language skills. 

“The requirement is having a bachelor’s degree and possessing a minimum standard of English language and other types of requirements. We accept people, all graduates from all disciplines to our school,” said Al-Arifi.  

She mentioned that they have some pre-sessional courses that could help individuals lacking essential skills for success in the curriculum, adding: "We accept everyone, and we will make sure that whoever lacks some skills, we will have the right preparations for them.” 

During the discussion, Al-Arifi mentioned that the establishment of the institute aligns with the goals outlined in Vision 2030. 

“With Vision 2030, there is an urgent need to prepare public policy leaders, people working in government and private sector to work on the development evaluation and impact assessment of current and future policies. With that vision, High Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman came up with the idea to establish the first School of Public Policy in Saudi Arabia,” she noted.  

Al-Arifi further emphasized that the School of Public Policy aims to attract students, both local and international. 

“The international reputation of KAPSARC holds a lot of value in the international arena, especially in the area of energy economics and policy. We would like to leverage the expertise we have at KAPSARC,” she said.  

The dean disclosed that the curriculum offered at the school will be “fresh, new, and cutting-edge,” developed by international experts in the field of public policy. 

“When you look at our curriculum, the curriculum is infused with a lot of applied learning. A lot of that is tools, simulations and local case studies,” said Al-Arifi. 

She mentioned that the program currently comprises three distinguished tracks: public management and leadership, climate and energy policy, and data application and public policy. “We would like to expand our offering in the future.”  

During the discussion, she revealed that KAPSARC is also planning to offer a crash course for individuals working in the media sector. 

“So those media representatives, whenever they cover any news about energy, climate and sustainability, they will have the right definitions. They will have a broader understanding of the issues,” Al-Arifi concluded.