KSA allocates $8 billion to needed development work

Large proportion of budget surpluss set to be spent on water and sewage work as well as roads and expressways, primary healthcare and educational buildings

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By  Rhys Jones Published  September 11, 2004

Saudi Arabia will set aside US $8 billion from this year’s budget surplus for construction projects according to Crown Prince Abdullah. The funds will be allocated to developments including water and sewage, roads and expressways, primary healthcare, school buildings and technical and vocational education. Analysts projected that Saudi Arabia’s budget surplus this year would be as high as $35 billion as a result of surging world oil prices. In the current fiscal budget, the government has projected an $8 billion deficit with revenues estimated at $53.33 billion and expenditures at $61.3 billion. “We have instructed the finance minister to allocate SR41 billion from the surplus for development projects,” said Abdullah. “The surplus came as a result of an unexpected rise in oil prices and the whole surplus will be spent for the welfare of citizens. The focus will be on projects that will have direct and considerable impact on the welfare and prosperity of citizens,” he said. The crown prince emphasised the government’s promise to provide “suitable housing” for all Saudis in a gradual and organised manner. “For that we have decided to allocate SR9 billion to increase the capital of the Real Estate Development Fund,” he said. “This will help more of the Saudi people to have their own houses,” he added. Prince Abdullah said the government selected the sectors for new projects after consulting Saudi Arabian experts. He said the projects would help supply water to a number of new cities and villages as well as helping to solve the sewage problem in some areas and also prevent the negative effect of flash floods in the Kingdom. “There is an emergency programme to establish new expressways as well as two-way and one-way roads inside and outside cities and villages,” he said, adding that the government gives priority to communication projects. “The new projects will facilitate transportation,” he added. Furthermore, part of the surplus will go on the development of primary health care centers in all regions. “The opening of more health centers throughout the country will help provide the necessary care for the mother, child and other family members and solve their health problems.” Prince Abdullah also emphasised the need to construct new buildings for schools which are currently housed in rented ones. “The new allocations will help construct more school buildings creating a conducive atmosphere for students,” he added.

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