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Saudis announce budget deficit for sixth straight year
[RIYADH] Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced its 2019 budget projecting a US$35 billion shortfall, amounting to a deficit for the sixth year in a row due to low oil prices.
The budget foresees spending at US$295 billion, the largest in the oil-rich kingdom's history, while revenues, mostly from oil, are estimated at Us$260 billion, said a government statement read by King Salman.
King Salman 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.