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Saudi Arabia Seen Saving $96bn Through Reforms by 2020

March 4, 2017 | Arabian Business

Planned fiscal measures in Saudi Arabia by 2020 will lead to savings of around SR362 billion ($96.5 billion), according to estimates by Jadwa Investment.

Its latest research note said the Gulf kingdom’s Fiscal Balance Program (FBP) includes initiatives designated for enhancing spending efficiency, reforming energy and water prices, and promoting non-oil revenue.

According to Jadwa’s estimates, planned fiscal measures will result in a fiscal surplus of SR162 billion in 2020, compared with a deficit of SR200 billion if no reforms are implemented.

The company said its forecast differs slightly from the baseline scenario presented in the Fiscal Balance Program due to its belief that oil revenue will be slightly higher than what the government is expecting.

Jadwa noted that FBP initiatives will help in keeping total government spending in an expansionary mode from 2018 to 2020, adding that it also touches on critical socioeconomic aspects such as the creation of a “household allowance program” to support low-to-mid income Saudi households.

Inflation turned negative in Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than a decade in January, according to data released by the country’s Central Department of Statistics.

The figures showed that prices fell by 0.4 percent last month compared to a rise of more than four percent in January 2016.

The falls were partly due to the weakness of the Saudi economy, where low oil prices have slashed the government’s export revenues and forced it to cut spending.