Council of Ministers to approve Saudi general budget on Wednesday

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers will hold a session on Wednesday to approve the Kingdom’s general budget for the new fiscal year. (Shutterstock)
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers will hold a session on Wednesday to approve the Kingdom’s general budget for the new fiscal year. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 05 December 2023
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Council of Ministers to approve Saudi general budget on Wednesday

Council of Ministers to approve Saudi general budget on Wednesday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers will hold a session on Wednesday to approve the Kingdom’s general budget for the new fiscal year, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

A preliminary budget statement issued in October showed predictions of real gross domestic product growing 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.

The statement said “limited budget deficits” would continue in the medium term.

Meanwhile, total expenditure was seen as 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.

A government press conference will be held on Wednesday, with the participation of Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan, during which he will address the state’s general budget for the next fiscal year, and the numbers and indicators of the contents of the budget will be announced.
The finance minister will also answer questions during the conference, which will be broadcast live on Saudi channels.


Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 

Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 
Updated 13 sec ago
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Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 

Johnson & Johnson MedTech begins direct operations in Saudi Arabia 

RIYADH: Saudi healthcare is poised to benefit from advanced medical interventions after Johnson & Johnson's technology firm, J&J MedTech KSA, announced its direct operations in the Kingdom.

The company provides high-tech medical and surgical equipment, and aims to bring customers closer to a more streamlined experience, according to a statement. 

This move not only aligns well with the firm's commitment to enhancing medical interventions and improving clinical outcomes but also reflects the company’s ongoing investment in the future of Saudi healthcare, it added. 

Marzena Kulis, managing director of Johnson & Johnson MedTech for Middle East & Africa, said: “We remain deeply vested in Saudi Arabia and in contributing to the Vision 2030 to support in developing the healthcare sector, driving economic growth, nurturing local talent, and fostering innovation.”  

She added: “As an entity, Johnson & Johnson has been present in Saudi Arabia for nearly 40 years, putting the needs of patients, families, physicians, and nurses first, and functioning as advocates for the health of the Saudi community.”  

 


Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister

Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister
Updated 17 sec ago
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Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister

Demand for fossil fuels not likely to diminish anytime soon: Saudi energy minister

 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia aspires to become one of the largest producers and exporters of clean energy, said Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

In an interview with the quarterly bulletin issued by the Saudi Association for Energy Economics, the minister said the Kingdom is capable of producing green and clean hydrogen at competitive prices.

Prince Abdulaziz said the Kingdom is focussing on all energy sources including solar, wind and green hydrogen as well as nuclear and geothermal.

This will help the Kingdom to reduce the consumption of liquid fuels in generating electricity and reaching the optimal energy mix, he added.

The minister cited the establishment of the largest green hydrogen production plant in NEOM as an example. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 250,000 tonnes by 2026.

Talking about the fluctuations in the oil market, he said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has mechanisms in place to deal with global crude market challenges.

Despite highlighting Saudi Arabia’s energy transition plans, Prince Abdulaziz said the need for fossil fuels, especially oil and gas, will continue for decades as also indicated by several industry reports.

The minister added that Saudi Arabia is working to reduce carbon emissions, and that it has a program to replace liquid fuels.

He explained that the program aims to run industrial facilities to rely on natural gas or alternative fuels as well as building renewable energy sources.

Furthermore, Prince Abdulaziz highlighted how Saudi Arabia has quadrupled its current renewable energy capacity from 700 megawatts to 2,800 MW by the end of 2023, with more than 800 MW of renewable energy sources still under implementation and about 1,300 MW in various stages of development. On top of that, the Kingdom plans to produce 200 additional MW this year.

The energy minister also revealed that work is underway to build one of the largest projects to capture, transport, and store carbon dioxide with an annual capacity of up to 9 million tonnes by 2030 and 44 million tons annually by 2035.

He reiterated the Kingdom’s goal to reduce emissions to 278 million tonnes annually by 2030.


Closing Bell: Saudi main index rebounds to close at 12,602

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rebounds to close at 12,602
Updated 34 min 38 sec ago
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index rebounds to close at 12,602

Closing Bell: Saudi main index rebounds to close at 12,602

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index bounced back on Tuesday after recording declines on two days.

The benchmark index gained 69.79 points to close at 12,601.55 with an overall trading value of SR7.31 billion ($1.95 billion), with 169 stocks advancing and 52 declining. 

The Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, also gained 661.67 points to close at 26,254.28 and the MSCI Tadawul Index also edged up by 0.68 percent to 1,627.71. 

The best-performing stock of the day was Middle East Pharmaceutical Industries Co., also known as Avalon Pharma, which debuted on the main market on Tuesday. The company’s share price soared by 30 percent to SR106.60. 

Other top performers were Saudi Steel Pipe Co. and Batic Investments and Logistics Co., whose share prices surged by 9.93 percent and 9.87 percent, respectively. 

The worst performer of the day was Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co., as its share price slipped by 5.24 percent to SR29.85. 

On the announcements front, Arabian Centers Co., also known as Cenomi Centers, said that its board of directors approved issuing dollar-denominated sukuk under its international sukuk program. 

In a Tadawul statement, Cenomi Centers revealed that the amount and the terms of offerings will be announced later, depending on the market conditions. 

The lifestyle center operator added that the sukuk issuance is subject to the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities. 

Meanwhile, National Medical Care Co. revealed that it witnessed a net profit rise of 42 percent in 2023 to SR240.9 million compared to the previous year. 

The medical service provider said the rise in net profit was driven by higher revenue, gross profit, and interest income, along with lower sales costs and zakat charges. 

National Medical Care Co. added that the net profit for the fourth quarter of 2023 also witnessed a surge of 15 percent to SR63.5 million compared to the same period in 2022. 


Aramco signs procurement agreements worth $6bn to enhance local supply chain

Aramco signs procurement agreements worth $6bn to enhance local supply chain
Updated 27 February 2024
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Aramco signs procurement agreements worth $6bn to enhance local supply chain

Aramco signs procurement agreements worth $6bn to enhance local supply chain

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco’s domestic supply chain is poised for further improvement as it signed procurement agreements worth $6 billion with suppliers in the Kingdom. 

According to a press statement, these 40 procurement agreements were inked as a part of the company’s strategic localization program and are expected to strengthen the firm’s supply chain ecosystem and contribute to the development of the energy services sector in Saudi Arabia. 

The deals will also provide suppliers with long-term demand visibility, enabling them to capture future growth and advance localization efforts.

Wail Al-Jaafari, executive vice president of technical services at Saudi Aramco, said: “The 40 new agreements signed today are expected to contribute to the domestic value chain and further enhance the ecosystem that Aramco is helping to build.” 

Moreover, these procurement agreements will also contribute to achieving the objectives of Aramco’s iktva program, an initiative to drive the growth of a vibrant economy in the Kingdom and create new opportunities for Saudi nationals.

These new corporate deals span the supply of a range of products comprising strategic commodities, such as instrumentation and electrical and drilling equipment. 

“These agreements move us toward a more prosperous, diverse and resilient supply chain, which will help ensure business continuity. They also represent a key milestone on our iktva journey and provide our partners an opportunity to benefit from a dynamic and increasingly diversified operating environment,” added Al-Jaafari. 

Additionally, Saudi Aramco signed two memorandum of understanding with its strategic partners to collaborate on localization and supply chain development. 

Earlier in February, speaking at the International Petroleum Technology Conference in Dhahran, Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, said that the company is very active in its localization efforts. 

“We hired more than 5,000 people, mostly Saudis, but also from 60 nationalities,” said Nasser.

He also added that Aramco has the full capability to grow in any sector to create profitable companies.

In January, a report released by strategic consulting firm Brand Finance revealed that Saudi Aramco has retained its position as the most valuable company in the Middle East region, with a value amounting to $41.6 billion.


Saudi investment firm acquires startup platform VeFund  

Saudi investment firm acquires startup platform VeFund  
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi investment firm acquires startup platform VeFund  

Saudi investment firm acquires startup platform VeFund  

RIYADH: The Saudi startup ecosystem is set to expand further with the investment fund CoreVision acquiring VeFund, infusing artificial intelligence technologies for enhanced venture evaluation, innovation, and strategic growth. 

The acquisition of VeFund, a regional platform for venture evaluation and investor connections, represents a significant step in CoreVision’s strategic growth, enhancing its portfolio with advanced AI-driven technologies. 

The Saudi investment firm plans to use VeFund’s AI technology to support startups in navigating competitive environments.  

Following the acquisition, CoreVision CEO Faisal Al-Abdulsalam will lead VeFund as its chief executive. 

Al-Abdulsalam’s extensive experience and portfolio of over 80 investments in various sectors are set to bring a new strategy of leadership and vision to VeFund, the company said.   

“We at CoreVision are not just investors, we see ourselves as ecosystem builders. As such, our vision is to transform VeFund into a secondary market for startups, offering a platform for investors to trade safe notes, which is essential in contributing to the vibrancy of the startup community here in Saudi Arabia,” said Al-Abdulsalam.   

Launched in 2023 by Mohamed Gaber, an AI specialist and serial entrepreneur, along with his co-founder Ahmed Magdy, VeFund’s intelligent evaluator provides a suite of tools, including an AI Survivability Index, valuation calculators, and extensive portfolio management solutions. 

“I am excited about the future of VeFund and believe strongly that this transition will drive VeFund’s mission forward, fostering an environment of innovation and success for startups across the Middle East,” Gaber said.  

VeFund currently has over 1,400 startups registered on its platform and has a database of more than 400 angel investors and investments funds spanning across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Pakistan.