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Saudi reform plan approved by top government economic council

[RIYADH] Saudi Arabia's Council for Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA) has approved the national transformation plan overseen by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and will pass it to the cabinet on Monday for approval, a senior Saudi source said.

"The Council of Economic and Develpoment Affairs (CEDA) has approved the final draft of the National Transformation Plan, which is one of the plans adopted and part of the 2030 vision which was launched and adopted by the Saudi deputy crown prince, president of CEDA," the source said.

"The National Transformation Plan will be presented to the cabinet on Monday for its endorsement and adoption," the source added. "The final draft of the National Transformation Plan, which is one of the programmes adopted as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 has been launched by the Deputy Crown Prince and president of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs," the senior source said.

Details of the plan, a programme of wide-ranging economic reforms, will be revealed in daily news conferences with government ministers starting from Monday evening, the senior source said.

The plan is expected to further flesh out sweeping reforms called "Vision 2030" announced by Prince Mohammed in late April to radically overhaul an economy that relies on volatile oil revenue.

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The wider reforms are expected to include subsidy cuts, tax rises, sales of state assets, a government efficiency drive and efforts to spur private sector investment. Last month the International Monetary Fund said the plans were "appropriately bold and far reaching".

Riyadh has been cutting spending and trying to raise fresh revenues as it grapples with its budget deficit, which totalled US$98 billion in 2015.

The IMF predicted the deficit would stay very large this year, at about 14 per cent of gross domestic product compared to 16 per cent last year.


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