Dubai – “ASWAQ”
Saudi Arabia plans to involve the private sector under its Vision 2030 reform plan, said the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih to the recent World Economic Forum.
Vision 2030 calls for development of non-oil industries, small and medium enterprises, and a broader investment base. It targets to make private business contribute some 65 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Al-Falih explained when speaking to a panel entitled “Saudi Arabia’s Path to 2030,” on how some aspects of the “huge”, “audacious” and “ambitious” reform plan will work, and on how the private sector and business will be integral to the reforms. He further said, “Privatization is going to be key. Saudi Arabia is going to be private-sector led in the future.”
Diversification of the economy will see Saudi Arabia’s mining industry grow from being worth about US$15 billion today to “at least US$60 billion or more.” Al-Falih also described the “soft factors” that will be significant in the transformation of Saudi Arabia’s economy.
Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan also calls for more sporting and cultural activities, including more entertainment facilities, as well as a greater economic role for women, in an effort to promote tolerance in the society.
Al-Falih said, “We are going to turn Saudi Arabia into a softer place, a more pleasant place to live. We are going to strive to make people happy within the Kingdom. Opening more opportunities for women is a centerpiece of Vision 2030.”
Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Saudi minister of finance, described to the panel on how the Kingdom plans to reform its subsidy system. He said, “Currently there is a lot of misdirected subsidy, people who don’t need subsidy are actually consuming more than those who actually need it.”
Al-Jadaan further explained, however this will change under the new “Citizen Account” program that will be used to distribute allowances.