Saudi unveils bumper $109bn budget

11 December 2007
Saudi Arabia will spend a record $109.3bn in 2008 in the biggest budget in the kingdom’s history. The new budget is $8bn larger than this year's spending plan, with the kingdom’s revenues in 2008 expected to top $120bn.

Government spending on education and training will top $28bn, about one quarter of total expenditure. Water, municipal services, agriculture, industry and infrastructure will get $12bn with projects worth $7bn to be implemented in these sectors.

Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf predicts that Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP) will reach $379bn in 2007 based on current prices.

Saudi Arabia’s public debt will fall to 19 per cent of GDP by the end of 2007. In 2006, debt stood at 28 per cent. The government will use $14.8bn from the 2007 surplus to repay debt.

The budget’s size shows that the government will use bumper oil revenues to develop other sectors of the economy.

The government is emphasising education and training as part of plans to mobilise the kingdom’s workforce in-line with its Saudisation initiative.

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