Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers yesterday, and announced the new budget of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the fiscal year 31/12/97 to 30/12/98 (1417/1418 H.), with revenues totaling SR 164 billion (U.S. $ 43.7 billion) and expenditure amounting to SR 181 billion (U.S. $ 48.3 billion).[Full report on 1997 State Budget]
Attributing the great boons and achievements accomplished by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the blessings of Almighty God in enabling it to continue its successful development for the welfare and prosperity of its citizens while balancing the latest technological progress with adherence to the noble teachings of Islam, King Fahd declared that this development would continue, and that this perfect balance between science and faith would bring the state to the level of an advanced country and contribute greatly to human civilization.
King Fahd expressed his pleasure at announcing the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and greeted the citizens on this occasion, explaining that the figure of SR 181 billion (U.S. $ 48.3 billion) includes allocations totaling SR 7.5 billion (U.S. $ 2 billion) for new development projects for mosques, schools, colleges, health facilities, water, roads, and infrastructure in addition to expenditure for projects currently underway, and also covers expansion of social insurance amounting to SR 200 million (U.S. $ 53.3 million). He then announced that new projects for electricity generating plants costing SR 11 billion (U.S. $ 2.9 billion) would be partly financed by the electricity fund in the amount of SR 2 billion (U.S. $ 0.5 billion). He reported that over the past fiscal year, about SR 7 billion had been paid out to farmers, and around SR 15 billion to contractors and companies, a total of more than SR 22 billion (U.S. $ 5.9 billion).
King Fahd expressed the hope that the budget would realize the aspirations of the citizens in terms of the remarkable improvement in the performance of the Saudi economy during the past fiscal year (1416-1417 H.) for which the figures of the Department of Statistics show a positive growth of 8.6 percent as compared to 4.3 percent for the previous fiscal year (1415-1416 H.), declaring that confidence in the national economy had been renewed, and that this is reflected in the development being witnessed by the Kingdom in many spheres. The upcoming fiscal year (1417-1418 H.) is the third of the Sixth Development Plan, which aims at taking the Kingdom to higher levels of social security and economic prosperity.
Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd, praising the role of the Saudi citizens in achieving higher rates of performance and productivity, had confirmed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is dealing with developments and changes in each phase in accordance with social and economic conditions on the one hand and the requirements for dealing with the international community on the other, and referred to the new state budget as concentrating on three basic factors: developing Saudi manpower and increasing their employment; realizing economic competence in both public and private sectors; and strengthening the role of the private sector in the national economy. Reiterating King Fahd’s hope for a promising economic future, Minister A-Farsi said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would go ahead in expanding its infrastructure to meet the increasing demand resulting from the growing population. He then announced that the next session of the Council of Ministers would be on Monday, January 13, 1997.