Asharq Al-Awsat, Riyadh – The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz announced the Saudi Arabian national budget for the fiscal year of 2009 during a cabinet meeting Monday at the Khozaim Oasis, Riyadh.
Government expenditures were budgeted at 475 billion Saudi Riyals (SR) for fiscal 2009, and total revenues were estimated at 410 billion SR leaving an expected surplus of 65 billion SR.
The 2009 budget is the largest budget in the history of Saudi Arabia and is an increase of 65 billion SR to the 2008 budget, the second largest budget in Saudi history.
In his speech, King Abdullah confirmed that the 2009 budget, despite the sharp decline in oil prices, “will promote development programs that will lead to the growth of the national economy, increase confidence in it, and provide career opportunities to citizens.”
King Abdullah also revealed that the 2009 budget included a 225 billion SR allocation, a 36% increase to the 2008 budget, for new projects in order to continue improving primary health care and support programs to tackle poverty, and fund youth and sporting projects.
The budget also revealed that 2008 recorded the largest oil revenue since the first budget was announced in 1969.
Saudi Arabia also succeeded in reducing the size of public debt by 63.2 billion SR or 13.5% to 237 billion SR at the end of fiscal 2007. This decrease highlights the success of the disciplined policy enacted by Saudi Arabia to reduce public debt to “safe” levels.
In King Abdullah’s speech, he urged ministers and officials to implement projects approved within the budget at the specified time in order to enhance services provided to citizens and boost Saudi Arabia’s overall development.