Talat Hafiz
Mohammed bin Salman: three years of remarkable performance

Ramadan 26 of this year, recorded a memorable memory in the history of Saudi Arabia and in the minds of its citizens, because it has marked three years of outstanding and remarkable performance of HRH. Prince Mohmmed bin Salman since he assumed power as Crown Prince.

The three years have witnessed an excellent performance achieved by the Crown Prince in all aspects of life, politically, economically financially, socially and others, which have placed the Kingdom among the most respectful countries in the world.

On the economic front, Since the launch of the Kingdom's Vision 2030, the national economy, the GDP, and the budget deficit have witnessed significant improvement, evidenced by growth in GDP, reduced budget deficit and the national debit.

Between 2014 and 2016, the national economy has witnessed a unprecedent weak performance due to a significant decline in the oil prices, which have reflected negatively on the government’s 2015 financial performance and as such the government has announced the highest deficit in the history in its budget at around SAR 366 billion - a fiscal balance swing from a surplus of SAR180 billion over just two years. 

Additionally, the public debt has increased from SAR 44 billion to SAR 316 billion; and government account balances at Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has declined from SAR 1,413 billion to SAR 577 billion. 

The Kingdom’s 2030 Vision that was created and still led by HRH. Mohammed bin Salman, has introduced set of financial reforms and measures through its Financial Balance Program (FBP) to paved the way for improved government capability by decreasing its budget deficit, improving the non-oil revenues and decrease independence on revenues generated from oil.

In a very short period of time since the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 was launched in April, 2016 to date, the country has seen the implementation of many structural economic and financial reforms, which have resulted in many improvement of major financial projections, key economic indicators, public finance, projections indictors and overall business environment.

For example, the real non-oil GDP and the private sector have grown from 0.2% and 0.1% in 2016 to 2.7% and 2.9% respectfully in 2019. 

Additionally, the government has announced for the first year in its history the highest budget of SAR. 1,048 billion, with a total expected revenue of SAR. 917 billion and SAR. 131 billion in expected budget deficit.

Although this year is different because of the negative impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), however, yet the national economy and the financial position of the Kingdom are holding very well.

In a recent webinar entitled “Saudi Arabia: A Sustainable Investment Ecosystem” that was conducted on 19th of May of this year by The Communication and Financial Knowledge Center (CFKC), affiliated to the Ministry of Finance, the participants in the webinar have highlighted the efforts and accomplishment of the Saudi government in connection with battling and mitigating the negative effect of COVID-19 on the national economy and on the Saudi society.

All participants have agreed that since the epidemic started in December of last year, the Kingdom took major steps to keep its citizens and residents safe, by implementing all precautionary, health and financial measures to prevent the spread of the virus. 

It was pointed out that the measures that were taken by the government, have led to strong public finances management and control of the budget deficit. 

The strength of the Kingdom’s financial position was assured and supported by its credit rating and reduce the cost of financing in the domestic and international markets.  

Moreover, it is believed that steps taken by the Kingdom are fundamental and it have enhanced its attractiveness to invest.

To conclude, I believe that since HRH. Mohammed bin Salman was assigned by King Salman as a Crown Prince; the country is witnessing a significant improvement not only economically but socially as well which has placed the Kingdom in a very advanced ranking among its peers in all aspects of life.

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