Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave an interview on national television. The interview will also be streamed on Al Arabiya English with English subtitles.
The Crown Prince appeared on the Liwan Al Mudaifer Show, and discussed developments in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan. It is the fifth anniversary of the plan, which aims to transform the Kingdom and prepare it for a post-hydrocarbon age.
During the interview, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed that the kingdom had no plans to introduce income tax and a decision
last July to triple value-added tax to 15% was temporary. He also said that the kingdom was in discussions to sell 1 percent of state oil firm Saudi Aramco to a leading global energy company.
Last month, the Crown Prince announced that the Kingdom will spend more in the next 10 years than it has done in the past 300 years as he announced a new program to strengthen public-private sector partnerships.
During the announcement of the program, named Shareek, the Crown Prince added that the Kingdom’s energy giant Aramco would lead investments in the private sector to the tune of 5 trillion riyals ($1.3 trillion) by 2030.
In January, the Crown Prince also announced the launch of “THE LINE,” a new 170-kilometer (km) belt of hyper-connected communities, designed without cars or roads, in the city of NEOM. NEOM was first announced in 2017 and is positioned to become a high-tech, next generation city, and global center for innovation, trade and creativity in the Kingdom.
The city is one of Saudi Arabia’s mega-projects, other examples include the Red Sea Development Project and Qiddiya, all aimed at boosting the Kingdom’s tourism sector – a central tenant of Vision 2030.
The Saudi Council of Economic and Development Affairs recently reviewed what had been achieved so far by the Kingdom's Vision 2030 five years after its launch, which focused during the five years on establishing an enabling infrastructure, building institutional and legislative structures, setting public policies, and enabling initiatives, while announcing that the focus in its next phase will be on following up implementation, advancing achievement, and further enhancing the citizen’s and private sector participation.
The council reviewed the achievements that aim to raise the quality of life of the Saudi Arabian citizen, including several initiatives taken to make the Kingdom a leading global destination. Achievements included facilitating access to emergency health services within four hours at a rate of more than 87 percent compared to 36 percent before the launch of the vision and reducing the rate of road accident deaths annually to 13.5 deaths per 100,000 people after it was 28.8 deaths per 100,000 people, and a higher rate of sports participation once per week reaching 19 percent in 2020, compared to 13 percent before the launch of the vision.
Within the housing sector, homeownership across the Kingdom increased to 60 percent compared to 47 percent five years ago.
Initiatives aimed at providing an environment that supports business potential and broadens the economic base were also reviewed. Chief among the achievements included the doubling of assets of the Public Investment Fund to reach about 1.5 trillion riyals in 2020 after not exceeding 570 billion riyals in 2015.
Since the launch of Saudi Vision 2030, the rate of foreign investment flows outside the Kingdom had decreased by 58 percent since 2015, while foreign direct investment flows into Saudi Arabia had grown to reach 17.625 billion riyals, an increase of 331 percent from 5.321 billion riyals before the launch of the vision. These initiatives also included the launch of projects that contribute to the welfare of society, providing jobs and attracting international investments, prominently NEOM, Qiddiya, the Red Sea projects, and others.