Saudi Arabia to finalize $533 mln privatization deals before 2019-end
Saudi Arabia will finalize privatization deals worth SAR 2 billion ($533 million) before the end of 2019, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
The privatization drive is part of Vision 2030, a package of reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed that is intended to wean the economy off oil and create jobs for young Saudis.
The expected deals will be in sectors that include rain silos, medical, and shipping services.
Next year, the government will offer privatization projects in the education sector with investments worth around 1 billion riyals, according to the interview.
The Crown Prince said the government remains committed to the Saudi Aramco IPO. It is expected to take place between 2020 and early 2021.
He added that Aramco's recent acquisition of a majority stake in petrochemical giant SABIC would help the oi giant's growth potentials and profitability amid usual oil market volatility.
Furthermore, he said that the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund is playing a major role in the economic diversification process and that its assets have doubled in two years to SAR 1 trillion. The Saudi wealth fund is planning to set up new economic partnerships to help lure investments and boost local content.
Additionally, he stressed that the role of the private sector should be enhanced to boost investments, generate higher yields and improve services.
The Crown Prince also said that Saudi Vision 2030 has surpassed the planning phase and is currently in the process of implementation on all levels. He further explained that results are now put into action.
He added that the Kingdom is not only witnessing financial and economic reforms aiming to realize specific figures, but a comprehensive restructuring of the economy to make a leap forward in economic and development performance on the both medium and long terms.
“We are now shifting from a rural economy to one that is characterized by productivity and global competitiveness,” he said.
The Crown Prince expressed his pride in how “the Saudi citizen is driving change at a time many feared the vision will face resistance due to the size of the strategic transformation it entails.”