The UK’s PwC has been appointed by the Saudi government to help it reprioritise its future capital spending.

The study involves assessing and planning future spending for several of Saudi Arabia’s largest government departments, including the health, education, housing and transport ministries. It will focus on capital expenditure plans, but will also consider operational costs.

The government has also established a dedicated unit that has already cut future project spending in the kingdom by SR100bn ($27bn), and could slash a further SR531bn.

According to the government’s Fiscal Balance Programme 2020 document, Riyadh has created the Bureau of Capital and Operational Spending Rationalisation as an independent unit operating under the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (Ceda) to rationalise both capital and operation spending. It says that between 2002 and 2014, “the government has not been as disciplined as it could have been with overall spending, allowing it to exceed the budget by 15-25 per cent in each year”.

The Fiscal Balance Programme aims to achieve a balanced budget by 2020, which is one of the key aims of Riyadh’s Vision 2030 strategy.

Riyadh’s vision for construction becomes clearer

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Riyadh’s vision for the construction sector has become a little clearer with the release of the Saudi 2017 budget and the Fiscal Balance Programme 2020 document.

The government wants to do two things. It acknowledges that it needs to deliver new infrastructure to enhance services for its people. It also wants to control spending and eradicate the wastage it feels became habitual during the 2002-2014 oil boom.

The problem is that the two objectives appear to be at odds with one another. Read more