The Washington-based IMF has urged Saudi Arabia to accelerate its plans to develop projects using public-private partnerships (PPP).

The fund said there is still a role for the private sector to develop projects that serve as a catalyst for broader development, but cautioned that these schemes should not crowd-out the private sector.

In early July, Saudi Arabia’s National Centre for Privatisation (NCP) issued a draft law outlining partnerships between the government and the private sector.

The NCP has invited the public to submit comments on the draft law by 29 July.

Once finalised, the law is expected to unlock SR35bn-SR40bn ($9.3bn-10.7bn) from selling government assets and create 10,000-12,000 new private sector jobs as outlined in the kingdom’s 2020 Delivery Programme.

The IMF’s comments on PPP came as the executive board of the IMF concluded its Article IV Consultation with Saudi Arabia on 16 July.

It says real GDP growth is expected to increase to 1.9 per cent in 2018, with non-oil growth strengthening to 2.3 per cent. Growth is expected to pick-up further over the medium-term as the reforms take hold and oil output increases.

The current account balance is expected to be in a surplus of 9.3 per cent of GDP in 2018 as oil export revenues increase and remittance outflows remain subdued. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority’s (Sama) net foreign assets are expected to increase this year and over the medium-term.

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