Saudi Arabia set on reducing dependence on oil exports and accelerating reforms

The government of Saudi Arabia is accelerating its economic reforms while also reverting some to provide the ministries flexibility to comply with their objectives, the country’s Ministry of Information said.

The Vision 2030 reform program, launched by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman last year, seeks to release the Saudi economy from its dependence on oil exports. The initiative has managed to control state finances but has yet to create new sources of significant income other than oil.

“Vision 2030 builds on early successes, and is strengthening its delivery mechanisms as it increases the scope and pace of implementation,” the ministry said.

The text confirmed a report published by Reuters this week, quoting sources saying that Riyadh is modernizing parts of Vision 2030 without diluting key policies, like a large privatization plan and a campaign to reduce its budget deficit.

The government is moving forward with plans to sell about 5 percent of Aramco, the ministry stated. Officials have said they aim to complete the sale by end-2018, raising about $100 billion.

“The government privatization program continues to gain traction and the plan for an initial public offering of a stake in Saudi Aramco remains on track,” the ministry said.

“The IPO process is well underway and Saudi Aramco remains focused on ensuring that all IPO-related requirements are completed on time and to the very highest standards.”

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