Saudi Arabia: As IMF warns over budget target, Vision 2030 faces deep challenges

Published in GSN, 25 May 2017

Riyadh has been gently criticised by the International Monetary Fund over its plan to deliver a balanced budget in the next few years, which the IMF believes could harm the economy’s growth prospects. The idea of a balanced budget by 2019 or 2020 forms the centrepiece of the government’s Fiscal Balance Programme, which is part of the wider Vision 2030 strategy drawn up by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and his expensive array of international consultants.

As more independent economists come to crunch the numbers associated with the expensively compiled and publicised programme, questions are being asked about whether the Vision 2030 programme is sustainable; whether it could just as well undermine as boost the political ambitions of its author, MBS; and whether it could lead to unexpected outcomes that will impact on the kingdom’s longer term stability.

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