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Saudi to Spend 32 Billion Dollars on New Projects in Capital - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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RIYADH (AFP) -Saudi Arabia, flush with huge oil revenues, said on Wednesday it had launched 1,800 development projects worth 120 billion riyals (32 billion dollars) in the kingdom’s capital Riyadh.

The money is being spent across a wide range of sectors including health, education, housing and transportation, the official SPA news agency said.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading oil producer and has reserves totalling 261.2 billion barrels, or more than a quarter of the global total.

The projects in the capital were approved in December after the government announced a record budget surplus of 70 billion dollars for 2006 on the back of high crude prices.

The kingdom posted a budget surplus of 58 billion dollars in 2005. The surplus reached 26 billion dollars in 2004 and 12 billion dollars in 2003.

An official report in 2005 said Riyadh’s population was 4.26 million, while a 2004 census said the kingdom’s total population was 22.67 million, of whom 6.1 million, or 27.1 percent, are expatriate.