Saudi Arabia government has decided to cut spending and delay some state projects after the recent decline in the price of oil, Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf has announced.
Talking to broadcaster CNBC Arabia, Ibrahim al-Assaf said Saudi Arabia was in a good position to manage low oil prices.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporting country, has maintained its production levels despite a collapse in the price of oil.
Oil is trading at less than $50 per barrel, half the price of a year ago.
“We have built reserves, cut public debt to near-zero levels and we are now working on cutting unnecessary expenses while focusing on main development projects and on building human resources in the kingdom,” Ibrahim al-Assaf said in the interview.
Some areas of the economy will still receive investment, the finance minister said, as Saudi Arabia tries to improve industries outside energy.
“Projects in sectors such as education, health and infrastructure are not only important for the private sector but also for the long-term growth of the Saudi economy,” he said.
Ibrahim al-Assaf did not give details of where cuts would happen.
It may issue bonds, or Islamic bonds known as sukuk to finance some spending, Ibrahim al-Assaf said.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has more than $600 billion in reserves it can draw upon should expenditure outstrip income from oil exports.