Saudi Arabia prioritizes investment to achieve growth: finance minister

Saudi Finance Minister Al-Assaf said Saudi is prioritizing investment programs

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Saudi Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf has said the Kingdom is giving priority to investment programs in the field of infrastructure, education, health and social services in order to achieve sustainable economic growth that is capable of providing jobs.

Al-Assaf, who headed the Kingdom’s delegation in the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington recently, said the Kingdom’s economy is still thriving with good support from public investment and high performance of the private sector.

Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Dr. Fahd Abdullah Al-Mubarak, among others, was also in the delegation, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Saturday.

In a speech he delivered before the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee, Dr. Al-Assaf focused on the economic situation in the Kingdom, the situation of the world economy and some subjects related to the IMF.

He said the Kingdom is capable of weathering the fluctuations in oil prices and still save enough so as to reduce the public debt from the GDP that reached 1.6 percent at the end of last year.

In this connection, he said the international rating institutions have confirmed the solidness and stability of the Saudi economy.

Al-Assaf said the banking sector is still maintaining good rates of liquidity, profitability and capital. He added the recent reforms to strengthen organizing the financial sector will help in supporting sustainable economic development and providing financing for small and medium enterprises.

During the meeting, Al-Assaf reviewed the Kingdom’s role in contributing to global economic growth through a number of fields including developing the local economy.

He said the global economic forecasts are more optimistic than in last October. He stressed the importance of supporting nascent economies and developing countries in maintaining global growth rates.

Al-Assaf stressed the role of World Bank and multilateral banks in this field through contributing effectively in financing the sustainable development goals, which will be approved in the UN this year.

In this connection, he referred to the role of Islamic finance in providing the necessary resources for multilateral banks in order to achieve the goals of sustainable development.

He said the Islamic finance tools are registering fast growth in financial transactions in Muslim countries and international centers. He called for the world to benefit from the experience of the Islamic Development Bank in this field.

On the sidelines of the meetings, a meeting was held for the ministers of finance and governors of central banks of G20 countries. During the meeting, they discussed subjects on the agenda including the situation of the global economy, financial legislations and taxes.