Saudi government to increase budget spend

Education, healthcare and transport are key priorities

NEWS, Projects, Budget, Education, Healthcare, Saudi Arabia, Transport

Saudi Arabia is planning another record budget spend for 2014 of $228bn (SR855bn) - a 4% increase on the budgeted spend for 2013, according to recently-released figures.

The increase is the lowest since 2007 and will be below the actual spend undertaken in 2013 of $246.6bn (SR925bn).

The government is planning a balanced budget for the Kingdom, with a 3.1% rise in revenues and 4.1% growth in income predicted.

Education and healthcare remain the Kingdom's key priorities and will again take up 38% of government spend. This will include construction of 465 new schools, 1,544 ongoing school projects and 1,500 refurbishments. Some 34 new healthcare facilities are being built, including 11 new hospitals, 11 medical centres and two medical complexes.

Around 8% of the budget ($17.8bn) has also been set aside for transport and infrastructure projects, which is a 2.5% increase on 2013. These include 3,500km of new roads as well as ports, railways and other projects in cities including Jubail, Yanbu and Ras Al Khair.

Over 7% ($16.3bn) has been allocated for water and agricultural infrastructure projects and municipality projects - including inter-city roads and bridges - were allocated 4.6% ($10.4bn) of the total.

One area not disclosed in the announcement was defence and security spending, which is likely to be the biggest single component.

According to Jadwa, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency figures put the Kingdom's security spend at 31% of its total budget in 2013.

"Several multi-billion dollar defense contracts have been signed in the last few years and media reports of new agreements appear sporadically," it said.

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