1999 News Story

Finance Minister Addresses Riyadh Symposium

Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Assaf, in his inaugural address to a two-day symposium in Riyadh on the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises, stated that the overall outlook of the Saudi economy shows stability, with low inflation and a stable exchange rate. This is due to the generous expenditure of the Government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, which has built up an effective and modern infrastructure providing basic facilities like power, water, transport and telecommunications services, in addition to focusing on the need for educational institutions and vocational institutes.

Dr. Al-Assaf referred to the strategy of developing small and medium-sized enterprises as part of the policy to bring about diversification in the national economy and lessen dependence on the petroleum sector. Drawing attention to global changes and their impact on industry and local services, he said that the Kingdom has an open and free trade environment, and enjoys a good position from which to realize rapid growth in the sector of small and medium-sized industries.

Dr. Al-Assaf went on to affirm that the government has realized the need to encourage the leasing of property to meet the private sector's financial requirements, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. The Kingdom's first leasing company is being set up, and the need to provide technical assistance services is being addressed to enable such enterprises to overcome problems in production, management and marketing. He hoped that the private sector would play a pioneering role in this. He also hoped that the current symposium, which is organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), would lay down a working agenda for all concerned, government, banking, and the private sector.