Expert sources in Saudi Arabia are anticipating a SR 200 billion budget surplus for this year, expecting the gap between income and spending to widen considerably.
On the other hand, other specialists such as bankers are forecasting a deficit of around SR 41 billion, which is an improvement over the finance ministry’s deficit prediction of around SR 70 billion.
The surplus for the current year means it is likely that oil revenues will be at or above SR 738 billion and non-oil earnings will be at or above SR 65 billion.
Those in charge have also put together the final state budget for the 2011 fiscal year. Much of that budget has been earmarked for housing projects.
Information that is currently being offered indicates that gross debt reduction is an important goal of the government, in an effort to curb inflation.
The level of gross debt is currently SR 225 billion or 16 percent of the GDP. That is a rise from the 13 percent level of last year. But even the current level is well below the critical 60 percent mark and so gross debt remains a concern yet not a priority.
Spending in next year’s budget is set higher than the actual expenditures for this year’s budget. Revenue levels are set around SR 790 billion and expenditures should fall between SR 586 billion and SR 600 billion.Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News