Al-Jadaan also pointed out that the 2020 budget will continue the implementation of programs and initiatives that aim at strengthening the private sector's role in the economy as the main driver of economic growth and job creation. Currently, there are 22 relevant support initiatives for the private sector, including cash subsidy, commitments and financing guarantees, offered by the entities implementing the initiative such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Housing, General Investment Authority, etc.
Mohammed Al-Jadaan, continued to emphasize that the 2020 budget will continue to raise the efficiency of public finance management to maintain fiscal sustainability and maximize return on expenditure. This takes into account the potential impact of domestic and international developments during budget execution. The 2020 budget will also focus its expenditure on Vision Realization Programs which represent the main tool to realize economic transformation objectives, including: housing programs, the quality of life program, privatization program, mega projects, private sector stimulus packages and other major projects across various sectors. These projects will support non-oil GDP growth in 2020 and over the medium term.
He also pointed out that the implementation of these programs and initiatives has led to performance improvement in various sectors, the most important of which is the construction sector, as it returned to positive growth rates during 2019 after declining over the previous three years. In general, the economy has resumed positive and high growth, as observed across various economic sectors. In the first half of 2019, wholesale, retail trade, restaurants and hotels, and finance, insurance, and real estate activities grew by 3.8% and 5.1% respectively compared to the same period last year. Furthermore, transport, storage and communication, and community, social and personal Services activities (including arts and entertainment) increased by 5.6% and 5.9% respectively compared to the same period in FY2018.
The government is continuing its efforts to develop local content, enhance the competitiveness of the economy and improve the business environment. His Excellency has stressed that the joining of the Saudi Stock Exchange to several global emerging markets indices is a testament to the success of these efforts, as it is expected to reap many economic and financial benefits, including increasing the efficiency and depth of the financial market, increasing the role of institutional investment, as well as improving the market liquidity through the flow of foreign investments, which has seen significant growth during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Non-oil private sector also witnessed positive growth during the first half of 2019 for the first time in three years supported by policies that aim to stimulate the private sector.
Al-Jadaan noted that releasing the pre-budget statement for the second consecutive year asserts the government commitment to reinforce governance and control of public finance, while enhancing the policy of financial disclosure by strengthening transparency principles.
In this context, the Kingdom has recently joined the International Monetary Fund's Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), which is considered as one of the best international practices in the dissemination of fiscal and economic data for countries. This is an important step towards the Kingdom's path in enhancing fiscal disclosure and transparency in accordance with international standards.
He also pointed out that the budget is usually approved in December of each year and may include adjustments to the contents of this pre-budget statement in the light of fiscal and economic developments.
Source: Saudi Press Agency