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World Bank Official: Saudi Reforms to Raise Growth by More than 2% | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man is silhouetted against the logo of the World Bank at the main venue for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo October 10, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Riyadh – A World Bank official revealed that the settlement of the economic growth rate in Saudi Arabia in 2017 at 0.6% has ensued from cutting oil product. He stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that reforms related to the National Transformation Program 2020 (NTP) and the resumption of oil production would raise the growth rate to more than two percent in 2018-2019.

The World Bank expects growth rate to re-balance in the GCC countries from 1.3% in 2017 to 2.6% in 2019, adding that although the overall growth rate continues to be affected by the cut of oil output but the growth of non-oil sector has started to enhance after reaching its lowest levels.

Spending and confidence are forecast to rise in the non-oil sector thanks to settling of oil prices, easing of fiscal austerity measures and ongoing reforms, the World Bank said in its report issued on Thursday.

“On the Saudi level, the economic growth rate in the kingdom is expected to remain modest in 2017 at 0.6 percent only due to the oil output cut,” said Nadir Mohammed, Country Director for the GCC Countries at the World Bank.

He added that the growth rate is forecast to inch up to more than 2 percent in 2018-2019 “as the NTP reforms continue and oil production resumes.”

Mohammed continued, “Saudi Arabia is leading the GCC with announcing ten reformatory strategic programs that include comprehensive structural reforms on the levels of economy and public finance.”

Commenting on the World Bank report, he said: “The green shoots of recovery are cropping up, helped by the recovery in global energy prices over the past year.”

“That’s good for public finances across the region, and it provides space to governments to focus on long term challenges.”