At a press conference today, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf commented that the Kingdom's revenues during 2000 have exceeded the figure estimated at the beginning of the fiscal year due to the rise in oil prices and increased production, adding that this surplus will be used in repayment of the public debt and clearance of certain due payments.[details of FY2001 State Budget as released by Ministry of Finance and National Economy]
Dr. Al-Assaf remarked that the educational projects to be implemented within the framework of the new budget include building branches for and expanding girls' colleges, constructing 16 training institutes, including vocational and commercial training centers, and expanding and erecting buildings for polytechnics.
As regards the health sector, he said four 100-bed hospitals and thirty 50-bed hospitals are to be built, in addition to outfitting hospitals constructed this year and due to be operational within the next fiscal year. He pointed out that allocations have been increased not only for hospitals, but for health colleges, in order to accommodate a greater number of citizens, and to replace foreign manpower in supporting medical services. He added that one project is for a national laboratory for the health ministry.
"The two major goals for the budget", Dr. Al-Assaf said, "are making basic services available for the citizens, including health, education and social services, and implementing investment projects in a manner that contributes positively to the country's economic growth." He expressed optimism about the prospects of further economic growth, noting the increase in economic activity in the second half of the year.