Saudi Arabia Unveils $19 Billion 'Stimulus' for Private Sector

Published December 14th, 2017 - 11:12 GMT
King Salman on Thursday issued a decree allocating SR72 billion ($19.2 billion) of stimulus funds to support the private sector in 2018. (AFP/ File)
King Salman on Thursday issued a decree allocating SR72 billion ($19.2 billion) of stimulus funds to support the private sector in 2018. (AFP/ File)

King Salman on Thursday issued a decree allocating SAR72bn ($19.2bn) of stimulus funds to support the private sector in 2018.

The plan is part of a four-year stimulus program announced last year. The funds will be used to finance 16 different initiatives the government will use to create direct and indirect jobs in the country. 

The Saudi private sector has been hit particularly hard by the slump in oil prices, which has seen government spending drop.

The stimulus package aims to boost the role of the private sector to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil. 

The stimulus package

The private sector stimulus package includes SAR21bn ($5.59bn) for housing, SAR14bn ($3.73bn) for efficient home design and engineering, and SAR5bn ($1.3bn) for an import-export bank.

Other plans include a SAR1.5bn ($399m) fund to support troubled companies, SAR2.56bn ($682.5m) to rollout broadband and fibre optic networks, SAR13.87bn ($3.69bn) to build the kingdom’s technology sector, and several initiatives to support small and medium enteprises (SMEs).

These include SAR1.6bn ($426.6m) for indirect lending to SMEs, SAR2.8bn ($746.5m) for an SME investment fund, and SAR7bn ($1.86bn) to refund government fees paid by new SMEs.

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Elsewhere, SAR100m ($26.6m) has been set aside for offices, SAR20m ($5.3m) for a private sector platform, and SAR80m ($21.3m) for private sector workshops.

The government said the package was intended to boost the competitiveness of the economy, improve the business and investment environments, and enhance the role of the private sector in development.

Editor's note: The article has been slightly edited from its original source. 


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