Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, during a session of the Council of Ministers today announced the national budget of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the fiscal year 1416/1417 (1996).
[Full text of Ministry statement and Royal Decrees on 1996 State Budget]
In his opening speech, Prince Abdullah said: "The budget of the new fiscal year has been charted bearing in mind that it constitutes an essential step in the direction of a balanced budget with confirmation of the strength of the national economy", adding that under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia was still concerned with diversification of its resources, and pointing out that the problem of reducing financial deficits is now a global phenomenon.
Minister of Information Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that Prince Abdullah also spotlighted the efforts being made not only to curb spending but to increase non-oil revenues, citing the industrial and agricultural sectors as major elements in this. The success of the economic development process is due to fine financial management and effective utilization capability in the face of the difficulties sustained by the Saudi economy at the start of the fifth five-year development plan, including the financial and organizational obstacles caused by the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi aggression, and the decline in oil prices to a level 30 percent lower than that projected by OPEC.
Crown Prince Abdullah called on the Ministers to pursue implementation of the general rules of the budget and to adhere to its principles, rationalizing spending with the aim of balancing expenditure with revenue. Citizens are urged to understand the prevailing circumstances that engulf the international economy of which the Saudi economy is an integral part. Prince Abdullah was nevertheless able to express pride that the Kingdom has managed to overcome a number of financial difficulties and is now enjoying an improved economic situation thanks to the measures undertaken by the government, including the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan, which was designed to give priority to the realization of stable and moderate growth of the national economy.