1997 News Story

Finance minister talks about diversification

In a lecture yesterday before the Conference of Arab Capitals Markets in Beirut, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf said that the Kingdom’s oil revenues amounted to 58% of the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP) in 1974 but this contribution went down to less than 30% in 1995 as the result of the Kingdom’s policies to promote the role of the non-oil sector.  He cited the tremendous incentives being allocated to encourage the industrial sector and joint ventures and foreign investments which led to the industrial sector registering a growth rate of 9.5% in 1996.

Dr. Al-Assaf noted the efforts being made by the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdulaziz to realize economic integration with the other GCC member states.  He said the Kingdom has encouraged other GCC colleagues in the setting up of a free trade zone as the first step toward full economic integration between them and a better and balanced cooperation with similar enconomic blocs and organizations worldwide.