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Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance Ibrahim al-‘Assaf has said for the first time that the kingdom will be prepared to cut “unnecessary” public spending to weather the effects of low oil prices which have fallen by more than 50% since mid-2014.
Mr ‘Assaf, on a visit to Washington with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, told CNBC Arabia “we have built reserves, cut public debt to near-zero levels and we are now working on cutting unnecessary expenses, while focusing on main development projects and on building human resources in the kingdom.”
The minister explained that there are some projects which have been approved a few years ago, but have not been implemented, so they are not vital and can be delayed. But he adds that projects in sectors like education, health and infrastructure are not only important for the private sector, but also for the long-term growth of the national economy.
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