Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf highlighted the overall strength of the Saudi economy in an address at the International Monetary Fund in Washington yesterday.
He noted that the Kingdom’s economy has continued to grow, with a budget surplus, a reduction of the national debt and an increase in non-petroleum exports.
He expressed optimism for the coming year due to Saudi Arabia’s strong banking sector as well as ongoing efforts to attract investment and create jobs.
Dr. Al-Assaf also welcomed the World Bank’s efforts to support an energy initiative to help impoverished countries cope with the burden of high oil prices. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz proposed the initiative at the Jeddah Economic Forum in June of this year.
In an interview that aired on Saudi TV yesterday, Dr. Al-Assaf said that the Kingdom’s development plans will not be affected by the current global economic crisis because will be funded by reserves and oil receipts.
He noted that the current global financial crisis may have an indirect impact on Saudi Arabia, but that he expects any such impact to be temporary.
Al-Assaf reaffirmed that the Kingdom is not facing a liquidity problem and that the government stands ready to increase liquidity if needed. He also stressed that deposits in Saudi banks are safe.