Minister of Finance Mohammad Al-Jadaan affirmed that spending on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs is continuing in accordance with the agreed plans, after some of the programs were temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He revealed that a number of Vision programs spent more than 93 percent of the budget allocated to them until the last month of November.
Addressing the Fifth Financial Stability Seminar here on Sunday; Al-Jadaan said that signs of recovery from the coronavirus crisis are clear and its results are tangible. As the monthly statistical figures issued by the Saudi Central Bank and the General Authority for Statistics have confirmed this.
He said the world has never seen a crisis like the one brought on by COVID-19. The Kingdom also took measures and has prioritized health and people over anything else.
Financial support packages
“To alleviate the effects of the crisis, the Kingdom’s Capital Market Authority and the Saudi Central Bank have disbursed financial support packages that constitute 3.4 percent of its gross domestic product,” the minister said while noting that that there has been an increase in the purchasing managers’ confidence index significantly last month to the highest percentage since last January.
“We have responded to the pandemic with courage and speed, and we are now seeing promising results for the economy. What is good as far as the Kingdom and a number of other countries of the world are concerned was that “the response (in confronting the pandemic) was very fast.”
He considered that this rapid response came in the Kingdom specifically, with the reinforcement of previous reforms; and the government has dealt with it as a single team. This is with intervening and supporting the private sector; and the Saudi Central Bank announced firmness to support liquidity in the banking system.
The minister stressed that the government supports the restoration of economic activity. While avoiding a return to the lockdown again; especially since the financial sustainability that the government worked on contributed to confronting the twin shocks of the “coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.”
“There was speed and courage to get out of the general lockdown. And we began to see promising results in the Saudi economy. But the virus still exists and anxiety is present in the world; and most international institutions are glad to return to the economy.
“Hence, our goal is to empower the private sector to carry on the economy to the future; and the government would carry out enacting the necessary legislations in this regard.”
Referring to the government support to the economy during the pandemic period, Al-Jadaan said: “They criticized us for the percentage of subsidies, but when we look at the impact of subsidies, we find that the Kingdom was one of the best among the G20 countries with a rate of contraction.”
He also emphasized that the support packages exceeded SR200bn. The Saudi government was ready to directly target the support according to sectors. So its impact would be more obvious.
The minister of finance also spoke about showing a clear regularity in the banking sector as well as in using national development funds; in confronting the circumstances and effects of the pandemic crisis.
Al-Jadaan emphasized that there was “clear harmony” between government institutions in working to confront the pandemic situations.
He also highlighted the cooperation and harmony with the health sector; and effective coordination of both the public and private arms of the health sector. This in order to ensure provision of the requirements while overcoming the pandemic phase.