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Bin Salman embarks on huge spending spree to transform Saudi economy

March 31, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Saudi and foreign media representatives listen to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman remotely addressing a press conference, at the G20 summit’s Media Center in the capital Riyadh, on November 22, 2020 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia will spend more in the next ten years than it has spent over the past 300 years since the First Saudi State was created in 1744, the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has said. This is a bold declaration of the de facto ruler’s intent on transforming the economy through his ambitious Vision 2030 programme.

Speaking during an online meeting yesterday, the crown prince announced the “Shareek” partner programme between the private and public sectors. The plan is for oil giant Aramco and petrochemical firm SABIC to lead investments of five trillion riyals ($1.3 trillion) by the local private sector by 2030, under a programme for economic diversification.

The move aims to mobilise the Gulf State’s private sector to help wean the economy off its reliance on oil exports. These still account for more than half of the Kingdom’s income. In the process, it is intended to develop new sectors to help create jobs for millions of Saudi citizens.

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As much as 27 trillion riyals ($7.2tn) is expected to be raised. Breaking down how this ambitious goal will be achieved, Bin Salman explained: “When we’re talking about 27 trillion Saudi riyals in the next 10 years, solid, we have it, solid. Three trillion from the Public Investment Fund (PIF), we announced it and where we brought it from, committed to spend. Today, five trillion from the big companies, a majority of which are government-owned, solid and committed. Four trillion riyals under a strategy to be announced later, part of it is business as usual and a bigger part of it is solid, we have it, 12 trillion riyals.”

The prince is committed to this massive spending spree. “We’re talking with the big companies and the private sector, this is a huge opportunity. This is a new Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where spending is more than what has been spent in the past 300 years.”

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