KSA boom: Revenues to exceed SR1.17 trillion.
JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Saudi Arabia is heading for a record budget surplus this year, with actual revenues expected to exceed SR1.17 trillion, SR315 billion more than what was projected in the budget set by the Finance Ministry, economists and researchers said.
The government's spending on salaries, projects and services is expected go up as a result of a hike in revenues, an economic report said.
Economists said greater government spending would continue to play a significant role in driving the Kingdom's growth in the coming years.
Huge oil revenues have strengthened the confidence of companies and investors in the Kingdom for the fourth year in a row, they said.
The report, issued by the research department of Jadwa Investment Company, said this year's budget surplus could reach 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product as a result of higher oil exports.
"This will be the Kingdom's highest annual revenue in history," a Saudi economist told Arab News, adding that the surplus was the result of a remarkable jump in oil exports from 9.3 million to 9.7 million barrels of oil daily.
Fahd Al-Turki, head of the department at Jadwa, said the predicted budget surplus for 2014 was much higher than what was expected, adding that his department based its studies on the latest figures.
The Kingdom projected this year's revenue at SR855 billion, with education and health care remaining the focus of government spending, accounting for 38 percent of total expenditure.
Al-Turki said the surplus would help the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) build up its foreign assets.
"SAMA's foreign assets reached $13 billion in the first six months of this year," he said, adding that they would exceed $45 billion by the end of 2014," he said.
"Higher savings provide reassurance that an elevated level of spending can be maintained for several years since reserves can be drawn down in the event of revenue shortfalls," he said.
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