Minister: Saudi public spending to remain intact

19 May 2010

(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, said that the government plans to keep its public spending program unchanged, despite the recent decline in oil prices, Reuters reported.

Al-Assaf said that the country’s lenders will resume normal business this year after a difficult 2009.

The minister added that he was not concerned about the recent fall in oil prices and that the government’s spending plans would continue as intended, saying that even if prices fall below $62, the kingdom will continue with its development program.

Al-Assaf pointed out that the program was running ahead of schedule and that more than half of the projected oil sector investment had been rolled out. In 2009, nearly $48 billion had been invested in non-oil sector projects, he said.

Over the last two years, the government increased public expenditure to cushion the effects of the global crisis, drawing on currency reserves that more than doubled due to considerable revenues from oil exports as crude prices rallied to record levels in 2008.

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