Offering less than 5% of Aramco in the stock market will achieve several benefits, most notably transparency, according to documents from the Saudi embassy to Egypt that Daily News Egypt received on Saturday evening, published on the occasion of the Saudi national day, celebrated on 23 September.
Aramco is a key part of the Saudi vision 2030, the embassy asserted, noting that offering Aramco in the stock market will make the company announce all its financial lists, and it will be put under supervision of Saudi banks, as well as analytical and international investment banks.
The market value of Aramco stands at $2tn, so offering only 1% of it will be the biggest offering in history which will transform the company into a holding company with an elected board.
The Saudi budget revenues will not be negatively affected by the recently terroristic attacks against Aramco factories. The Saudi government is committed to achieving the 2030 vision targets and is confident of the comprehensive economic transformation.
Targets of the national transformation plan
The national transformation plan aims to achieve five goals which are the development of programmes and operational initiatives in order to achieve the strategic objectives of the 2030 Agenda, along with a commitment to transparency when following-up on implementation.
Creating 450,000 jobs in the non-governmental sectors by 2020 is one of the key objectives of the plan, in addition to focusing on the private sector and maximising its role in the economy and contributing to the GDP.
The plan also focuses on increasing local components in Saudi industries to promote the Saudi added value to products, in addition to achieving their digital transformation plans, and increasing investments in digital assets.
A total of 543 initiatives have been approved since 2016 in order to achieve the national transformation plan. The total cost of these future initiatives is estimated at SR 270bn (about $72bn) over the next five years.
Saudi Arabia has exerted unremitting efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and face the volatile economic challenges that the global economy suffers from. The authorities have restructured ministries, state bodies, and developed the national transformation plan, which is the cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda.
The national transformation plan involves 24 government bodies including all ministries and institutions as well as the private sector and non-profit organizations. The plan set measurements to ensure that the targets are met according to the time line and to ensure the efficiency of the institutions.
The plan also contributes to increasing the pace of coordination and joint action among institutions. Furthermore, the plan identifies a number of common objectives of public authorities based on national priorities in order to boost joint planning and transfer of expertise among public entities, involve the private and non-profit sectors in identifying challenges, innovate solutions and financial instruments, as well as monitoring and performance appraisal.
The government will give special focus on restructuring the housing sector to help increase Saudization. Spending on infrastructure projects will continue, according to the documents, noting that the 2030 economic vision will not require high government spending.
The 2030 plan aims to increase women’s participation in the labour market from 22% to 30% and reduce the unemployment rate among Saudis from 11.6% to 7%. The government seeks to increase the private sector’s contribution to the GDP from the current 3.8% to 5.7%.
Additionally, the government plans to boost its efforts in fighting corruption which already exists in all societies, and in all governments.
Over and above, the government intends to implement the “Green Card” system within five years to improve the investment climate and to open doors for tourism to all nationalities.
Saudi Arabia plans to increase the annual number of pilgrims from eight million to 30 million by 2030. Saudi Arabia also plans to create the world’s largest Islamic museum, and Riyadh has chosen a headquarter for non-Muslims to visit.
Government aims to increase non-petroleum revenues to $141bn by 2020
The Saudi government aims to increase its non-petroleum revenues to $141bn by 2020, according to the documents, adding that enhancing the services provided by the government is a key objective of the national transformation plan.
The government also seeks to decrease salaries from 45% to 40% of the national budget in 2020, in addition to cutting water and electricity subsidies by SR 200bn (about $53bn). The documents also mentioned that the government will boost its investments in the medical sector and develop tourism.
Saudi economic performance is improving
Saudi economic performance is improving while real GDP growth rates in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019 were about 1.7%, compared to 1.4% in Q1 of 2018.
The real non-oil sector growth rate reached 2.1%, driven by the private sector which grew by 2.3% in Q1 of 2019, compared to 1.7% in the same quarter of last year.
Foreign direct investments (FDIs) inflows to Saudi Arabia also witnessed an increase of 23.8% in Q1 of this year, with increased investment opportunities for the private sector while credit facilities for the Saudi small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reached SR 113bn (about $30bn) in the first half of 2019, representing an increase of 11.6% compared to the corresponding period last year.
National day celebration
Saudi Arabia celebrates its national day on September 23 every year which marks the anniversary of declaring the establishment of the country by King Abdulaziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud in 1932.
The march of development that began since the country’s foundation continued and expanded in the country’s management and modernisation of its systems in all political, security, economic, and social aspects, until it became one of the most developed countries in the world, where citizens, residents, and visitors enjoy prosperity and economic welfare, according to the documents.