Daily Archives: December 28, 2015

Minister of Finance: state budget focused on priorities of citizens with implementation of basic development projects

Riyadh, Rabi’I 17, 1437, December 28, 2015, SPA — Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf said that the state budget for the current year focused on the priorities of citizens with continuation of implementation of key development projects as well as taking advantage of the enormous investment in the Kingdom’s infrastructure and construction, including education and health.

In a statement to the news channel Elekhbariah, he noted the implications of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King of the Two Holy Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s speech.

The minister detailed efforts to deal with the drop in oil prices and revenues.

–SPA
23:52 LOCAL TIME 20:52 GMT
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Water, electricity tariffs' increases minor; fuel prices lowest globally

Riyadh, Rabi’I 17, 1437, December 28, 2015, SPA — Minister of Water and Electricity Engineer Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Alhosain stated that 87% of the bills of subscribers of electricity services which have been introduced this year will not be affected by the new change in the tariff.

He added that 52% of the subscribers of water services will not pay more than one riyal per day.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Aramco Khalid bin Abdul Aziz Al-Faleh revealed that despite the slight increase in fuel prices in the kingdom, they remain the lowest worldwide.

The two officials’ remarks came during a press conference held by them today in Riyadh to talk about the state budget for fiscal year 1437/1438 H.

–SPA
23:36 LOCAL TIME 20:36 GMT
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Minister of Justice hails Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' economic reform

Riyadh, Rabi’I 17, 1437, December 28, 2015, SPA — Minister of Justice Sheikh Dr. Walid bin Mohammed Al Samaani stressed that the state budget revealed the strength and durability of the Kingdom’s economy and its ability to overcome the global economic fallout.

He valued continued implementation of comprehensive development projects despite the drop in oil prices. He noted that oil is the most important resource of the state.

Sheikh Samaani highlighted Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud’s reforms in the economic and developments fields in the kingdom.

–SPA
23:15 LOCAL TIME 20:15 GMT
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Dr. Al-Rabiah: SIDF gives priority to financing energy rationalization projects in factories

Riyadh, Rabi’I 17, 1437, December 28, 2015, SPA — Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund ( SIDF ) Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, stressed that the Fund will give priority to funding energy rationalization projects and raising the efficiency of energy consumption in the Saudi factories.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency, Dr. Al-Rabiah said that the aim is to stimulate the application of standards and requirements of energy efficiency by companies in the industrial sector, especially in petrochemical, steel and cement industries, in line with the direction of the state to increase the efficiency of energy consumption.

He added that the SIDF will continue to support the developmental projects in the industrial sector through providing loans and consulting services for local industrial factories and creating an attractive conditions for investment.
–SPA
23:10 LOCAL TIME 20:10 GMT
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Finance Ministry Issues A Press Release on State's Budget 10 Riyadh

b.Sadad Electronic Payment System
In regards to the implementation of the Sadad electronic payment system, which manages fees and wages of government services in the Kingdom, two new government agencies were recently linked to the system during the current fiscal year 1436/1437; total payments made through the system during the current fiscal year 1436/1437 was SR 98 billion, an increase of 5 percent from the previous fiscal year 1435/1436. This brings the total payments made through the system since its launch until 02/14/1437 AH to nearly SR 409 billion.
c.Modification and issuance of laws and regulations
New regulations, laws and systems have been approved during FY 1436/1437 (2015), including: the Antiquities, Urban Heritage and Museums, the Tourism Law, the Functions of the Direct Public Funds Law, the Child Protection Law, the Anti-Smoking Law, Protected Areas and Wildlife Law, the Corporate Law, and the Undeveloped Urban Lands Law.
A number of regulations have been approved including the Consumer Protection Association, the Saudi Lawyers Society, the Saudi Center for the Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions, the Law of Criminal Procedure, the Martyrs Fund, the Saudi Commission for Contractors, the Saudi Commission for Job Generation and Anti-Unemployment, the Central Department of Statistics and Information, the National Program to Support Project Management, the Saudi SME Authority, the Center for Performance Measurement of Government Agencies, the Center of Achievement and Rapid Intervention and the Saudi Awqaf Authority. It has been approved, in principle, to create the National Center for Strategic Development Studies.
d.Follow-up and Disclosure
The Ministry will issue periodic reports on the implementation of the budget, assess delivery as per the disclosure standards in the government financial statistics of 2001/2014, and will periodically update the Council of Economic Affairs and Development.
–SPA
17:53 LOCAL TIME 14:53 GMT
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Finance Ministry Issues A Press Release on State's Budget 9 Riyadh

The current account of the balance of payments is expected to achieve a deficit of SR 154.9 billion in the current fiscal year 1436/1437 (2015), compared to a surplus of SR 288.4 billion last fiscal year 1435/1436 (2014).

5-Important regulatory and administrative developments:
a.Organizational arrangements
After the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz assumed the reins in the Kingdom, he issued many decisions and orders including the cancelation of 12 Supreme Council committees and bodies, and the establishment of two bodies – Political and Security Affairs and Economic and Development Affairs – in order to raise the efficiency and level of coordination, speed up the decision-making mechanism and follow-up on their implementation, and draw future trends. The Council of Economic and Development Affairs has worked to evaluate the visions and objectives of 46 government agencies, and approved them to develop plans and key performance indicators (KPIs) supporting the diversification of economic growth and sustainable development.

E-Government Transactions
The implementation of the second phase of the National e-Government Project continued; the Project was launched in fiscal year 1427/1428 to support the initiatives and projects for the second operational plan for the e-Government in the Kingdom (2012-2016). The third operational plan for e-Government transactions in the Kingdom is currently being prepared; the plan is to be implemented during 2017-2021 AD. The number of government agencies connected to the secure government network has reached 138, an increase of 24% from the previous fiscal year. The number of government entities that exchange data electronically through the government integration channel has reached 103. The number of online services available through the National e-Government Portal (SAUDI) has exceeded 2,500 electronic services provided by more than 170 government agencies, an addition of more than 500 new electronic services from the previous fiscal year. The number of government agencies connected to the National Call Center (AMER) for e-Government transactions has reached 13, an increase of 85 percent from the previous fiscal year. Smartphone platform (MAAK) was launched to provide all e-Government applications and services for smartphones on a single platform.
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17:52 LOCAL TIME 14:52 GMT
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Finance Ministry Issues A Press Release on State's Budget 7 Riyadh

Fourth: Economy Developments

1-Gross Domestic Product (GDP):
According to the Central Department of Statistics and Information,the GDP for the year 1436/1437 (2015) is projected to reach, in current prices, SR 2.450 billion, a decrease of 13.35 percent compared to fiscal year 1435/1436 (2014). The non-oil public and private sectors GDP is projected to achieve a growth rate of 8.37 percent; the government sector is expected to grow by 14.57 percent and the private sector by 5.83 percent. The oil sector is projectedto decline by 42.78 percent in current prices.

The GDP at constant prices for the year 2010 is expected to rise by 3.35 percent. The oil sector is expected to grow by 3.06 percent, the government sector by 3.34 percent and the private sector by 3.74 percent. All economic components of non-oil private sector GDP have achieved positive growth. In real terms, telecommunications, transport and storage are expected to grow by 6.10 percent; building and construction by 5.60 percent; wholesale, retail, restaurants and hotels by 3.86 percent; non-oil transformative industries by 3.23 percent; and finance, insurance, real estate and business services by 2.55 percent.

During the year 1436/1437 (2015), the cost of living index increased by 2.2 percent compared to 1435/1436 (2014), according to base year 2007.
The non-oil private sector GDP deflator, one of the most important economic indicators for measuring the economy’s inflation, is expected to increase by 2.02 percent in the year 1436/1437 (2015) compared to the previous year, according to estimates from the Central Department of Statistics and Information.

2-Monetary and banking sector:
Money supply during the first ten months of the current fiscal year 1436/1437 (2015) grew 2.5 percent, compared to a growth rate of 10.4 percent for the same period last year 1435/1436 (2014). Bank deposits during the same period increased by 1.7 percent, and recorded an annual growth rate of 3.3 percent compared to last year.

During the first ten months of the current fiscal year, banks’ total claims on the public and private sectors rose by 7.9 percent, and banks continued to show financial solvency as their capital and reserves in the same period increased 9.6 percent to SR 271.9 billion.
–More
17:52 LOCAL TIME 14:52 GMT
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Finance Ministry Issues A Press Release on State's Budget 8 Riyadh

3-Capital market:
The Capital Market Authority (CMA) continued during fiscal year 1436/1437 (2015) its efforts to develop the financial market and promote transparency and disclosure. Based on the Council of Ministers’ approval of the CMA decision to allow foreign financial institutions to buy and sell stocks listed on the Saudi Stock Market, the CMA board adopted a resolution dated 15/07/1436 H (corresponding to 05/04/2015 AD) regulating the rules for qualified foreign financial institutions’ investments in listed stocks. From Tuesday 28/8/1436 H (corresponding to 06/15/2015 AD), qualified foreign investors were allowed to invest in equities listed on the Saudi Stock Market.

In order to expand the financial market base, provide funding and growth opportunities for national companies, and increase investment channels, three companies’ shares were partly put up for initial public offering for SR 3.774 million, in addition to one company’s sukuk for SR 3.900 million, and initial rights to 12 companies for SR 2.325 million.

The CMA has worked to increase the offering of investment funds, licensing 26 new investment funds this year, which brings the total number of licensed funds to 265.

As part of its efforts to strengthen the structure of the financial market by providing consulting services and financial intermediation, CMA added 5 licenses to licensed individuals, with a total of 495 licenses being distributed among 88 licensed individuals.

4- Foreign trade and balance of payments:
According to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the total value of commodity exports during the year 1436/1437 (2015) is estimated at SR 767.2 billion, a decline of 40.2 percent from the previous fiscal year. The total value of non-petroleum commodity exports is SR 176.3 billion, a decline of 18.8 percent from the previous fiscal year. Non-petroleum commodity exports accounted for 22.9 percent of total merchandise exports.

Commodity imports are expected to reach SR 531.9 billion in the current year, a decline of 10.5 percent from the previous year.

Preliminary estimates of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency also point to the trade balance achieving a surplus of two hundred thirty-five billion and three hundred twenty-two million riyals SR 235.3 billion this year, a decline of 65.9 percent from last year as a result of the marked decrease in oil exports despite a decline in imports.
–More
17:52 LOCAL TIME 14:52 GMT
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