Saudi Arabia posts first quarter budget deficit of $9.14bn

08 May 2018
Kingdom has projected a deficit of $52bn or 7.3 per cent of this year

Saudi Arabia has registered a budget deficit of SR34.3bn or $9.14bn in the first quarter of 2018, around 18 per cent of the total gap forecast for this year, the Finance Ministry has announced.

The kingdom has projected a deficit of $52bn or 7.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, down from $61bn last year.

First quarter revenues reached $44.34bn, up 15 per cent from the same period last year, the ministry said in a statement released to media.

Non-oil revenues jumped 63 per cent to $14bn, mainly due to a 5 per cent value added tax and fees imposed on foreign workers introduced by the government in January.

Total expenditure during the period reached $53.49bn, up 18 per cent.

Riyadh, which is making progress with its economic diversification agenda stipulated in its ambitious Vision 2030 programme, aims to balance the budget by 2023.

Commenting on the growth in contribution of the non-oil sector, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said the first quarter figures “reflect rapid and significant progress in economic reform.”

Last week, Jadaan said the government was on track to cut the deficit to 7 per cent of GDP this year.

Oil revenues rose only 2 per cent, despite the recent rise in the oil price. The ministry said a switch to quarterly dividends for Aramco meant that impact would be seen in the second quarter of 2018.

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