The Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA) has approved the final draft of the National Transformation Plan.
The plan, a pivotal element of the “Vision 2030” reforms announced in April by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, is expected to flesh out sector-by-sector details of the implementation of Vision 2030, which is intended to restructure the Kingdom’s entire economy and make it less dependent on oil revenue.
Deputy Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman is also the president of CEDA, a new super-committee of top ministers charged with overseeing reforms.
Saudi Arabia finances now depend on oil revenue and its economic performance closely tracks government spending. But energy prices have plummeted since mid-2014, causing steep declines in income and putting growth at risk.
The wider reforms are expected to include subsidy cuts, tax rises, sales of state assets, a government efficiency drive and efforts to spur private sector investment. Last month the International Monetary Fund said the plans were “appropriately bold and far reaching”.
Details of the plan, a program of wide-ranging economic reforms, will be disclosed in daily news conferences with government ministers, a senior source said.
Other parts of the Vision 2030, including a partial privatization of state oil giant Saudi Aramco and transformation of the government’s Public Investment Fund into one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, have yet to be approved.
The emphasis placed on the plan by Prince Muhammad is evident in the high-profile nature of its launch, with senior ministers expected to deliver rare briefings on how their departments will implement the program.
Riyadh has been cutting spending and trying to raise fresh revenues as it grapples with its budget deficit, which totaled $98 billion in 2015.
The IMF predicted the deficit would stay very large this year, at about 14 percent of gross domestic product compared to 16 percent last year.
© Copyright 2021 The Saudi Gazette. All Rights Reserved.