Saudi Gov’t to Focus on Raising Efficiency of Public Spending

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Saudi Arabia has been facing severe fiscal pressure this year as a result of cheap oil prices. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

RIYADH, Dec 23 – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Wednesday the government’s economic vision would focus on increasing the efficiency of government spending as well as raising returns on investments, according to the Twitter account of the Saudi Shura Council.

King Salman officially inaugurated a new session for the consultative body earlier on Wednesday. He was also cited as saying that the economy had maintained real growth despite economic volatility and declining oil prices.

The world’s top oil exporter is facing severe fiscal pressure this year as a result of cheap oil prices, running an annual budget deficit of over $100 billion and forcing Saudi authorities to begin reining in state spending.

However, Salman said Riyadh had been able to preserve its public debt levels and reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for a stable oil market, which he said would protect the interests of current and future generations.

His comments were not delivered in the brief televised speech he made to the council, but were distributed to its members in paper form afterwards and then released on its official Twitter account.

He also said his government was striving to maintain Syria as a unified nation inclusive of all sects, according to the Twitter account of the Saudi Shura Council on Wednesday.

The king also blamed the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad for the rise of militant groups in the region, saying terrorist organizations would not find fertile ground without the Syrian government’s policies, the council said.

King Salman officially inaugurated a new session for the consultative body earlier on Wednesday.

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