Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia announced its 2015 budget on Thursday, projecting spending of 860 billion riyals and revenues of 715 billion riyals, leaving a projected deficit of 145 billion riyals.
The projected spending for 2015 is slightly higher than the estimated 855 billion riyals that has been spent in 2014, but projected revenues are 140 billion riyals lower that estimates for 2014 largely due to deteriorating oil prices.
Saudi Arabia approved the state’s budget for the new fiscal year in a cabinet session chaired by Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al-Yammanah Palace in Riyadh on Thursday.
Saudi cabinet Secretary General Abdulrahman Bin Mohammed Al-Sadhan issued a speech following the cabinet session pledging that the new budget will “support the comprehensive and balanced development [of the state], improve services provided to citizens and create more job opportunities in public and private sectors,” according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Addressing Saudi Arabia’s citizens, he said: “You are well aware what the global economy is going through a period of weak growth, in addition to what the global oil market is going through which contributed to a significant drop in oil prices.”
“We have issued directives to officials that the next year’s budget shall take into consideration these developments and rationalize expenditures, taking care of everything that serves citizens, improves services and implements the budget’s programs and projects strictly and efficiently ,” he added.
Sadhan praised the “huge projects” that Saudi Arabia has implemented over the past years, pledging that this would continue in 2015 despite the projected reduction in revenues.
The cabinet Secretary General said that strengthening integration between the public and private sectors, developing education, addressing labor market imbalances to create more job opportunities and the optimal use of resources can help Riyadh overcome the projected revenues shortfall.
“We are optimistic that economic growth will continue, God willing,” he said.