Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Arabia Supports Privatization, Eyes USD200 Billion Revenues | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man arrives to an airlines office as a closed shop is seen next to it, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo

Riyadh – Saudi Arabia has expressed absolute confidence in its ability to advance towards more privatization projects in coincidence with a statement made by a high-ranking official on Thursday that the kingdom expects raising around USD200 billion during the coming years through selling assets in governmental institutions in various sectors.

In this regard, finance and economy expert Suleiman Assaf said that Saudi Arabia will succeed in implementing more privatization projects in the future – he told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Saudi Vision 2030 has determined contours of the economy and reshaped it all over again. The effect of privatization projects success will be visible soon and this is attributed to the ambitious vision of the country.”

Vice Minister for Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Tuwaijri said on Thursday that the kingdom eyes around USD200 billion through selling assets — he added that the “number was based on detailed studies of valuations and market demand since authorities announced plans for a privatization drive one year ago.”

“This year we have a crystal clear idea on market demand size, valuation, and financial advisers. The market appetite locally and globally, cash flow certainty, government off-takes and structure were all studied,” he said.

Tuwaijri saw that the revenues’ plan would transform the Saudi economy by putting large parts in private hands, while helping to repair state finances that have been severely hurt by low oil prices.

“The $200 billion figure did not include tens of billions of dollars which the government expects to raise next year when it offers up to 5 percent of national oil firm Saudi Aramco. Enterprises in 16 sectors are expected to be fully or partly privatized by 2020,” he added.

“Among the first assets to be offered will be King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh. We are in a very advanced stage – appetite has been secured, the model is being made by relevant government authorities,” Tuwaijri stated.