Arab News – The Saudis are celebrating their 86th National Day standing on a strong footing, as the Kingdom is ranked among the 20 strong economies in the world.
According to the economists, the Saudi economy is estimated at SR3 trillion, including the SR1 trillion oil industry. They said the economy has certainly created different stages of development, including helping to build the Kingdom’s infrastructure, especially over the last five years when the state invested heavily in mega projects.
“In 2002, the Saudi budget was the size of today’s educational budget, and that’s a huge increase,” said economist Abdullah Al-Barak.
He said the Saudi economy “is no longer dependent on oil, which only represents about 40 percent of the economy, in light of the growth of the private sector, and today we have a comprehensive infrastructure that Saudi Arabia will depend on for the next 50 years.”
He said this is not to forget that the Saudi economy is still on the top 20 list. “This is great when you consider the fact that 10 years ago, the economy was almost totally dependent on oil, and in time, we saw the need to create an economy that is parallel to the oil economy, to create a balance to serve the Saudi economy in the next years,” Al-Barak added.
In the last five years, he said, Saudi Arabia invested greatly in its youths through the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program, and it will reap the fruits of these professionals who will contribute to building and developing the Saudi state.
Khaled Al-Harithi, head of the Economic Studies Center, said the Saudi economy has moved in many stages to reach its current position. He added that the Saudi economy gathered pace with the discovery of oil.
Al-Harithi pointed out Saudi Arabia then created Saudi Aramco and initially depended on American companies to transfer technology to Saudis, who today are its leaders.
“The second stage of the Saudi economy was the first boom period, starting in the mid-1970s till the early 1980s, with the infrastructure being built, and Saudi Arabia saw the establishment of highways, buildings and so on.”
He said in the 1990s, another stage in economic development was witnessed, signified by low oil prices and high expenditures. Because of the Gulf War, there developed a deficit in the budget, and new way emerged to deal with the economic file, and some government services were privatized to diversify income sources and not to depend totally on oil.