Saudi Arabia announces budget surplus of $26 billion
Saudi Arabia has announced a 2004 budget surplus of SR98 billion ($26.1 billion) and set a balanced budget for 2005 fiscal with revenues and expenditures estimated at SR280 billion ($74.6 billion).
According to Arab News, the kingdom said revenues this year rose to SR393 billion, almost double the initial government projections, while spending was SR295 billion. This year’s surplus was the second in a row for the Kingdom. The 2003 surplus was SR36 billion.
Growth of gross domestic product (GDP) this year is estimated at 16.9 percent at current prices and 5.3 percent at fixed prices, the Finance Ministry said.
Speaking at the budget session of the Council of Ministers in Riyadh, King Fahd said the 2005 fiscal budget would give priority to development projects and repaying public debts put at SR660 billion. The budget showed an SR50 billion increase in expenditures compared to last year.
As last year, the Saudi government has directed 25 percent of the budget for education and training. The budget has made allocations for the establishment and renovation of 1,420 schools, 22 colleges, four university hospitals, and 61 training colleges and centers.