Saudi Arabia will utilise the windfall from oil revenues this year to propel growth in the private sector and accelerate efforts of diversifying the economy away from oil, according to a top government official. 

The additional gains from high energy prices will be used to invest in transformational projects, replenish reserves or pay off debt, said Faisal Alibrahim, Minister of Economy and Planning in an interview with Bloomberg. 

According to Alibrahim, the country will prioritise initiatives to expand the non-oil economy in 2023, but fiscal spending will not be increased. He said the Gulf state is also in talks with foreign businesses to encourage them to operate in Saudi Arabia. 

“The windfall from the additional revenues that we will get form high oil prices will be essentially invested in resilience,” the minister said. “Whether it’s replenishing reserves, paying off debt or investing in unique transformational projects through our wealth fund – that really helps us accelerate the diversification plans.” 

The world’s biggest oil exporter, which is currently implementing its Vision 2030 agenda to transform the local economy and reduce dependence on oil, had forecast to raise revenues of 1.045 trillion riyals ($278 billion) and planned to spend 955 billion riyals in 2022, which is almost 6 percent lower compared to the previous year. 

The International Monetary Fund had said that the size of the kingdom’s economy could exceed $1 trillion for the first time this year. 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Daniel Luiz )