Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf commented today that this year's budget of SR 185 billion [U.S. $ 49.33 billion] reflects the strength of the nation's economy and the soundness of the state's economic policy, which aims at enhancing economic growth, meeting the citizens' basic requirements, and collaborating with the private sector to make available job opportunities.
This year's budget, he said, comes in line with the series of integrated economic policies aimed at enhancing confidence in the national economy, realizing financial and monetary balance, and accelerating the economic process in the various sectors. He noted that this year's budget gives priority to education and training, and to social and health development, reflecting the aims of the development plans.
Dr. Al-Assaf went on to reiterate the State's concern to meet the citizens' requirements by focusing on social and economic projects and enabling the private sector to contribute positively to the process of economic development. In 1999, he said, the rate of economic growth increased by 8.44 percent, and the cost of living index dropped by 1.2 percent. This reflects positive development and stabilization of the local market as well as improvement in the commercial balance, he said, adding that the Saudi economy has proved to be capable of adapting itself to international economic developments.