The Strategist

Saudi Arabia expects to receive $55B from privatisation programme

05/25/2021 - 03:36

The Saudi authorities hope to raise $55bn over the next four years from their privatisation programme.

According to Mohammed Al-Jadaan, the country's finance minister, the kingdom has already identified 160 projects in 16 sectors, which are to be transferred into private hands in whole or in part through direct sale of assets or the creation of public-private partnerships.

According to the minister, the state intends to outsource the management and financing of health projects and services. Also on the list are urban transport and airport services, school buildings, desalination facilities, TV transmission towers, hotels and other projects.

"It is no longer a matter of choice. This is a demand of the central government," the minister said. "These services and these facilities should no longer be run by the state. Such measures, he said, would move the privatisation programme to a new stage. 

The minister said that the government plans to raise $38bn through direct sales of assets and $16.5bn through public-private partnerships. This, the minister says, should help plans to reduce the budget deficit, which was $79bn last year, equivalent to 12% of the kingdom's GDP.