December 18, 2018 / 3:47 PM / 5 months ago

Saudi king promises economic reforms, fiscal discipline in budget speech

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signs documents during the 2019 budget meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 18, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday announced a 1.11 trillion Saudi riyal ($295 billion) budget, the kingdom’s biggest ever, and said the government will move ahead with economic reforms.

“We are determined to go ahead with economic reform, achieving fiscal discipline, improving transparency and empowering the private sector,” he said in a televised speech.

Under the economic Vision 2030 plan pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Riyadh is seeking to create more jobs for Saudis, but businesses have been hit hard by tax rises and other steps to narrow the government’s budget deficit.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad and Stephen Kalin

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