Saudi Arabia’s MEP and economic association to strengthen ties

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Top officials during the signing ceremony.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP) signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Economic Association to accelerate research, training and data exchange amid a flurry of new agreements.

Both parties will promote closer cooperation on economic research, capacity building, events and reports to share knowledge and advance joint goals on growth, diversification and Saudi Vision 2030 realisation.

Suliman Alobaid, Assistant Minister of Economy and Planning signed the agreement with Dr. Nourah Alyousef, Chair of the Board of the Saudi Economic Association.

It lays the framework for closer coordination in key areas, such as promoting two-way data flows and cooperation on joint reports. A wide range of events such as meetings, lectures, seminars and workshops will be organised. Training courses on economic research, analysis, monetary policy, planning and writing will also be held to boost training, reskilling and upskilling efforts nationwide.

The agreement will also strengthen economic cooperation, enhance monetary policymaking, and provide a new platform to welcome global speakers and experts to participate in conferences and events locally, regionally and internationally.

The Saudi Economic Association aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, economics, and social scientific studies among individuals, government entities and private-sector organizations. It also hosts events to discuss research and runs training courses to promote capacity building.

The agreement comes days after MEP and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics signed an MOU to enhance the use of data in the development of economic policies. It came less than a week after MEP and the Saudi Data & AI Authority agreed to explore how artificial intelligence and data can boost policymaking and economic performance.

After signing three agreements in less than a fortnight, the Ministry of Economy and Planning is moving fast to boost training and development and improve how data is used to shape policy and produce results that contribute to Kingdom’s social and economic goals.  Meanwhile Saudi Arabia expects to post a surplus of 0.2 per cent of GDP in 2023, a drop from an expected surplus of 2.3 per cent this year, which was revised downwards slightly, a preliminary budget statement showed on Friday, as it boosts spending amid a windfall from oil revenues.

Saudi Arabia expects total revenues at 1.123 trillion riyals ($298.9 billion) in 2023, an estimated 8.1 per cent fall from this year, and total spending of 1.114 trillion riyals, the preliminary budget statement for 2023 said.

Projected spending was up nearly 17 per cent from spending budgeted for this year, while revenues are expected to be 7.5 per cent higher compared with 2022. In its 2022 budget statement, the finance ministry had expected a budget surplus of 2.5 per cent this year and 0.8 per cent next year, both revised downwards.

The ministry expects its budget surplus to widen to 0.5 per cent of GDP in 2024 and 1.7 per cent in 2025, the 2023 preliminary budget showed.

Saudi Arabia’s expected surplus this year would be its first in nearly a decade, as it benefits from sustained high oil prices and higher volumes, as well as a growing non-oil economy.

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