Prince Mohammed Bin Salman attends a video meeting in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said on Thursday that the Kingdom would continue to take strong action against corruption after recovering billions of riyals in settlements over the past three years.
Prince Mohammed said in remarks carried on state media that authorities had recovered 247 billion riyals ($65.86 billion) in addition to assets worth tens of billions of riyals, including real estate and stocks, that have been transferred to the finance ministry and would be reflected in revenues once liquidated.
Prince Salman said, “The Kingdom is one of the largest and most important economies in the world, and we strive hard to work to double the size and diversity of the economy. To continue achieving this, we consider in the government the non-oil GDP as the main indicator of the success of our economic plans.
“During 2018, the unemployment rate was approximately 13%. And due to raising the efficiency of government agencies, public investment fund investments, programs, and other government initiatives, we saw the unemployment rate drop successively to 11.8% at the beginning of 2020.”
The Crown Prince said, “Corruption consumes 5% to 15% of the state budget in the Kingdom, which means worse performance from 5% to 15% at least in the level of services, projects and the number of jobs, and the total proceeds of anti-corruption settlements reached 247 billion riyals in the past three years.
The Crown Prince told media that the Public Investment Fund has become one of the main engines of the growth of the Saudi economy, and we have been able to double the size of the fund from 560 billion riyals to more than 1.3 trillion riyals, with a steady pace towards achieving the goal of Vision 2030 that the fund’s assets exceed 7 trillion riyals.
The Crown Prince said we have invested more than 55 billion riyals in the Kingdom's digital infrastructure, which resulted in an increase in the average speed of the "Internet" until we became the first country in world to achieve 5G speed, and among the first ten countries in the world in the speed of the mobile "Internet."
The Crown Prince said, “The Kingdom has achieved first place in digital competitiveness at the level of the G20 countries in the past three years, and has jumped 40 places in the digital infrastructure for communications and information technology index.”The Crown Prince said that when we started to prepare a comprehensive programme for reforming the economy, we made a clear commitment in Vision 2030 that we strive to increase the percentage of citizens' home ownership by 5% within 4 years.
Prince Salman affirmed that the Kingdom is one of the top 10 countries in dealing with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the G20 and we are more optimistic that the pace of growth will accelerate with the end of the pandemic and things return to normal, so that we will be one of the fastest growing countries in the group in non-oil GDP in the coming years.
The Crown Prince indicated that the Kingdom has placed unemployment file as one of its priorities.
"Increasing employment rates are a top priority for the government. Work has begun according to Vision 2030 to reform the labour market and provide more jobs for male and female citizens. Vision 2030 has set to eradicate unemployment as one of its goals,” Prince Salman said.
Crown Prince said, “In 2016, the value of the non-oil GDP was estimated at 1.8 trillion riyals, and we in the Kingdom began laying out plans to double that at a rapid pace.
“The result was rapid growth in the past three years, by 1.3% in 2017, 2.2% in 2018, 3.3% in 2019 and more than 4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, despite some economic challenges.”
Crown Prince said that we have expanded in direct and indirect government spending since 2005.
To keep pace with that and maintain the expansion in spending, the government, in accordance with Vision 2030, has undertaken a wide restructuring process for a number of sectors in order to enhance the state's non-oil revenues and not make them dependent on fluctuations in oil prices.
The operation was successful. The Crown Prince left the hospital in good health.
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