Saudi Arabia’s total spending on development projects during the past five years reached SR4.4 trillion, with 30 percent of the amount going to capital projects, said Fahd Al-Mubarak, governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. SAMA chief made this comment after presenting the central bank’s 50th and 51st annual reports to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman during a meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday.
King Salman expressed his satisfaction over the Kingdom’s financial situation as aresult of its security and stability. He commended SAMA’s role in strengthening the national economy and implementing monetary policies.
Al-Mubarak expected the Kingdom to make comprehensive economic growth during 2015 and the coming years. He praised the king for issuing a series of decisions and measures designed to restructure KSA economic sectors to make them more competent to support the best utilization of the country’s economic resources. The two reports covered monetary, banking and financial developments in 2013 and 2014.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, deputy premier and minister of interior, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Deputy SAMA Gov. Abdul Aziz Al-Fareeh and other senior officials attended the meeting.
“The national economy has achieved good results in 2014 with GDP making an actual growth rate of 3.5 percent, exceeding the rate of 2.7 percent achieved in 2013 and the world average of 3.4 percent,” Al-Mubarak told the king. During 2014, the private sector achieved a growth rate of 5.6 percent while the public spending rose to SR1.11 trillion or 40 percent of the GDP. Public debts were brought down to 1.6 percent of the GDP while the balance of payment recorded a surplus of SR288 billion. “This is the 16th consecutive year, the balance of payment is making surplus,” the governor pointed out. The cost of living index has been brought down gradually from 6 percent in 2008 to 2.8 percent in 2014.
Al-Mubarak said the monetary and banking sector has contributed to boosting economic activity during the year by providing liquidity required to finance projects. Total liquidity rose by 12 percent in 2014. The governor said SAMA continued its role in executing the Kingdom’s monetary policies to preserve its liquidity level and ensure price stability. It backed the Saudi riyal’s exchange rate to serve economic and business activities.
“SAMA’s monitoring of banks and insurance companies has contributed to strengthening the economy with international rating agencies giving Saudi Arabia excellent ratings. This has strengthened the Kingdom’s economic stability and enabled it to attract domestic and foreign investors,” he explained.
The Kingdom’s economic policies addressed vital issues such as development of the national manpower, modernization of infrastructure, diversification of production base, and the impact of decling oil prices. Al-Mubarak noted Saudi Arabia’s role in ensuring global oil market stability and its efforts to grab a reasonable share of international oil market. He also stressed the need for diversification of revenue sources instead of depending on a single source that is depleting fast.
“Training and employment of young Saudis and providing them with housing are other challenges facing the country.” He said the fall in oil prices since the middle of last year posed a big challenge to the national economy. “This demands necessary measures to make optimum use of resources to continue the Kingdom’s development march.”
Meanwhile, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef also received copies of the two SAMA reports from Al-Mubarak in the presence of Finance Minister Al-Assaf. “Banks continued to provide their financial services in all parts through branches, ATMs and e-channels,” the governor said. Insurance premiums rose by 20 percent to reach more than SR30 billion, he added.