December 21, 2010

Budget lays stress on human development

Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, with Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and other ministry officials. (SPA)

Published: Dec 20, 2010 23:46 Updated: Dec 21, 2010 03:05

JEDDAH: Shoura Council member and investment analyst Ihsan Bu-Hulaiga said the direction of the budget this year had come in harmony with Saudi ambition to achieve social luxury and moving toward more development. He said there were many positive aspects contained in this year's budget including the surplus, the reduction of public debt and inflation control.

The plan has given human development the biggest share, he said, adding that the program included in the budget will provide more job opportunities and reduce unemployment by 2014 to five percent, which is an acceptable percentage even in developed countries. He said the budget specified a major share for scholarships, which is part of human development and which the country was trying to achieve. “The surplus will ensure the suitability and continuity of development projects until the next fifth development plan without any loan,” he added.

Saudi economist Abdullah Al-Alami said the budget reinforces the fact that the largest Arab economy and member of the G20 remains strong. “It's great news that Saudi Arabia expects the revenues in 2011 to come to SR540 billion. It is even better news that there are plans to spend SR580 billion, although we expect a deficit of SR40 billion,” he said.

Al-Alami said Saudi Arabia was fortunate to have accumulated huge reserves during a six-year oil price boom. “This is the time to allocate more funds to upgrade infrastructure, including airports and roads. This is also the time to allocate funds for health and education,” he said.

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