Connect to share and comment

Saudi Arabia spends on record budget, diversifying from oil

The Saudi government will spend 820 billion riyals ($219 billion) in 2013, a nine percent jump from the year before.

saudi 2013 budgetEnlarge
Saudi Arabia's 2013 budget contains record spending and shows the Gulf state's need to diversify from oil. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia budget surplus has allowed the Kingdom to pass the largest budget in its history.

The Saudi government will spend 820 billion riyals ($219 billion) in 2013, a nine percent jump from the year before.

The country's surplus from 2012 is expected to be about $102.9 billion.

Reuters reported that the budget will be officially announced Saturday but is said to be typically conservative both in projections of oil revenue and spending.

The world's largest exporting country of crude oil is also dependent on the natural resource for the vast majority of its budget.

In 2012, 92 percent of the Saudi budget came from oil.

More from GlobalPostSaudi Arabia quick to quell anti-Assad demonstrations in Mecca: report

"There is plenty of wealth, thanks be to Allah," said King Abdullah, addressing his ministers, according to television footage,reported AFP.

"You have no excuse after today for any dereliction or complacency," he said, went on to say.

AFP also reported that Saudi Arabia is expected to have a GDP growth rate of 6.8 percent - 5.5 percent from the oil sector and 7.2 percent from other sectors.

Bloomberg said that the Saudi record-breaking budget will likely be used to further diversify out of oil.

The government is said to be spending 22 billion riyals on sending Saudi students abroad for training and for building new technical schools.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/saudi-arabia/121229/saudi-arabia-spends-record-budget-diversifying