Saudi Arabia's SR200bn non-oil stimulus may last beyond 2021


Riyadh — The Kingdom’s SR200 billion non-oil stimulus may continue beyond the original planned end date of 2021, Naif Al-Rasheed, managing director of the Private Sector Stimulus Office, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg on Wednesday.

He said the program is earmarking SR36 billion to boost private-sector growth this year, on top of the SR40 billion already spent.

Al-Rasheed, who’s in charge of allocating the money and monitoring its effectiveness, said the office has a long-term mandate to continuously support the private sector through economic cycles.

He said the Stimulus Office, set up in 2017, is focusing on companies in the real estate, hospitality, health care and education sectors. Some of the spending will counter the impact of reforms, including higher energy costs and a levy on expatriates that was intended to encourage firms to hire more Saudis.

The office expects to spend SR22 billion next year, and SR25 billion in 2021, he said. It’s also looking for ways to allocate the remainder of about SR77 billion it has in its budget, according to Al-Rasheed.

The spending planned by 2021 is expected to contribute more than SR150 billion to the economy and create more than 86,000 jobs, he said.

Spending by the stimulus office has benefited over 313,000 companies, accounting for almost 70% of all active businesses, Al-Rasheed said. — SG