Saudi Arabia is able to maintain its current level of government spending in the medium term and beyond, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said yesterday.
Asked whether strong growth in government spending was sustainable, Al-Assaf told reporters: "We have the ... ability to continue this scale of spending.
"We have the reserves, as well as we are reducing our debt almost to zero. So we can continue in the medium term and even beyond that," Reuters quoted Al-Assaf as saying.
The world's No.1 oil exporter has set a record state budget of SR 820 billion ($219 billion) for 2013,  19 percent higher than the amount budgeted for 2012. 
The 2013 budget estimates revenues at SR 829 billion ($221 billion)  and expenditures at SR 820 billion, projecting a surplus of SR 9 billion. The budget will continue to emphasize both human and physical capital expenditure to support sustainable and balanced growth.
The National Commercial Bank said in its budget analysis that it projects total revenues at SR 1.15 trillion ($30 trillion) and expenditures at SR 870 billion ($232 billion), predicting a surplus of SR 277 billion ($78 billion) in 2013.