Saudi reopening economy with positive results: minister

Vision 2030 reforms provided a strong platform for Saudi Arabia to have a quick and positive response to the pandemic

  
Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during a media conference with Saudi Arabia's central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 23, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during a media conference with Saudi Arabia's central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 23, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Saudi Arabia’s economy is recovering in arguably the most challenging of years for a century, said Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Economy and Planning at the 15th virtual edition of the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference.

Saudi Arabia ended 2019 with positive momentum as Vision 2030 started yielding results. Saudi Arabia assumed the G20 presidency in 2020, working with G20 leaders and other partners to support sustainable and inclusive growth. In Q1, Covid-19 hit the world like a speed train, with significant impact, particularly on the most vulnerable, whether that be countries or individuals. Various countries saw GDP fall by 5%, 10%, 15% and some by 20%, effectively losing ten years of growth.

Vision 2030 reforms provided a strong platform for Saudi Arabia to have a quick and positive response to the pandemic. Significant resources were redirected to the healthcare system, and the King quickly decided to provide healthcare services free of charge not only to the Saudi nationals but also to residents and illegal residents.

The government delivered a SR218 billion package of support to businesses and the private sector. SAMA, the central bank, provided significant liquidity into the banking sector of approximately SR70 billion. SAMA also injected another SR50 billion of liquidity into the banking system to enable banks and financial institutions to provide credit to the private sector.

Initial signs were very positive as the economy re-opened. In 11 tourist destinations, room occupancy rates jumped to 85% and 90%. The economy is getting back and recovering but caution is required. The success of the Privatization Program also saved SR15.7 billion of the government's expenditure.

"For the first time in the history of G20, the first virtual summit meeting was held with very clear mandates and actions to ensure the protection of people's lives and livelihoods. Actions included the Debt Service Suspension Initiative potentially saving countries in need up to $14 billion. G20 countries have injected over $11 trillion into economies and $21 billion was raised to fill a long outstanding gap in health funding for such a situation,” Al-Jadaan said.

"The Saudi people were able to adopt and lead the charge, with exceptional talents that worked hard 24 hours a day to control Covid-19 and prepare the national economy for recovery,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service

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