Budget 2016: Business leaders laud vision for sustainable development

Artist's impression of Riyadh Metro.

Artist’s impression of Riyadh Metro.

A wide cross-section of Saudi society including ministers, businesspeople, academics and government officials have welcomed the country’s realistic and developmental budget for the new year in the face of tough regional and global challenges.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman approved the 2016 budget on Monday, with a projected spending of SR840 billion.

He also outlined increases in water, fuel and electricity to raise revenue and a raft of reform measures to reduce waste and ensure efficient spending of resources.

Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa said that the spending plans for the year meets all the requirements of his ministry and would help to improve outcomes, at the level of those being achieved in highly industrialized nations.

Civil Services Minister Khaled Al-Araj said the budget is aimed at improving the lives of Saudi citizens and heralds a bright future for the economy.

He praised the leadership for taking “wise decisions” in the face of challenges in the global economy and the decline in oil prices.

Social Affairs Minister Majed Al-Qassabi praised the allocations saying, “it has been drafted with a new vision for sustainable development” with generous amounts for social welfare.

Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani said the new financial plans showed the strength and durability of the Kingdom’s economy and its ability to overcome the global economic fallout.

Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen said that 87 percent of electricity subscribers would not be affected by the new changes in tariffs, and 52 percent of subscribers for water services would not pay more than one riyal per day.

Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih, who is also chairman of Saudi Aramco, applauded the budget saying it is development oriented. He said that despite the slight increase in fuel prices, it remained the lowest worldwide.

The Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) welcomed the budget as realistic and transparent. It reflects the strength of the Saudi economy and ability to achieve sustainable development, said Abdulrahman Al-Zamil,chairman of both the CSC and Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He praised King Salman for committing to planned developmental projects despite the challenges facing the country and uncertainty in the global economy; and lauded the measures to prevent wastage and increase benefits from government investments for the welfare of citizens.

Salih Al-Afalig, deputy chairman of the CSC, said the budget, despite the deficit, showed Saudi Arabia’s economic strength.

It continues to enhance development plans and realize citizens’ expectations of a better life despite the current economic conditions, Al-Afalig said.

He noted the government’s decision to continue spending on projects without significant cuts to stimulate and grow the economy.

Hamdan Al-Samrain,also a deputy of the CSC, said the budget priorities were similar to previous years despite the significant drop in oil prices.

It was realistic and balanced and does not rely solely on oil revenue, which would strengthen the financial situation of the Kingdom and increase opportunities for stronger public and private sector partnerships.

Mohammed Salih bin Tahir, president of Saudi Post, said the budget continued the Kingdom’s developmental investments despite the drop in oil prices.

Prince Saud bin Salman, president of the Cooperative Societies Council, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Yousuf, chairman of the Court of Grievances, and Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, president of the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, also applauded the budget as reflecting the strength of the Saudi economy.

Khalid bin Salih Al-Sultan, rector of King Fahad University for Petroleum and Minerals, said that the new budget proved the Kingdom’s commitment to achieve sustainable development, and showed the strength of Saudi economy.

Ibrahim bin Ali Al-Abaid, acting rector of Madinah Islamic University, said that despite challenges facing the world, the new budget meets the aspirations of the Saudi people.

Prince Naif bin Thinyyan, head of the information department at King Saud University, said the budget offered a balanced approach, with a commitment to complete projects, and comprehensive economic and financial reforms.

Abdulrahman Al-Itaishan, chairman of the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce, said the budget affirmed the government’s desire to boost economic growth through continued spending, but in a more controlled and efficient manner.

Mohammed Abdulsamad Al-Qurashi, deputy chairman of Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the budget demonstrated the strength of the Saudi economy despite major challenges facing the Kingdom.


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