Saudi Arabia confirms Aramco IPO; amendments to fiscal plans possible

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Saudi Arabia confirmed that the initial public offering (IPO) of oil giant Aramco is on track and said that some amendments to plans related to the National Transformation Program (NTP) and Vision 2030 were possible.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Culture and Information noted that such amendments are normal in the bid to achieve the set goals, adding that Vision 2030’s early successes enhanced the ability to expedite the pace of achievements.

“The Vision is thus clearly achieving its aims,” the statement said, noting that with time, the Vision calls on the Saudi government and the involved parties to have a flexible perspective in order to implement it.

“It’s important to make amendments and deal with unexpected circumstances to enhance strategic aims. This flexibility must not shake the stability required for the private sector to develop its investment plans and expansion projects,” the statement said.

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Some of the achievements listed by the statement are the quick decrease in the budget deficit, reforming energy prices, imposing taxes, rationalizing expenditure and allocating $ 53.33 billion (200 billion SAR) to support the private sector in addition to other funds to develop the infrastructure and small and medium-sized companies.

The statement quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying that plans to enhance the implementation of Vision 2030 should not come as a surprise, particularly to those who have observed its framework.

“During the coming years, there will be additional amendments and improvements in terms of implementing the programs,” he said.

The ministry spokesperson noted that when Vision 2030 was launched in May 2016, it was linked to two major programs which are the National Transformation Program (NTP) and the Fiscal Balance Program, adding that the Council of Economic and Development Affairs is currently working on an amended version that will carry the name National Transformation Program 2 and that would be after achieving a set of aims.

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National Transformation Program 2 will focus on work with the 10 ministries that are tasked with achieving a set of goals in order to narrow the gap among them and transfer knowledge to the private and public sector and link the latter two together, the spokesperson said.

He added that after achieving the goals of the program in 2020, there will be additional amendments to the vision.

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