Al-Jadaan: Saudi Arabia should not be blamed for protecting its interests
Minister of Finance Muhammad Al-Jadaan said that Saudi Arabia should not be blamed for protecting its interests and the interests of its people.
He made the remarks while reacting to a recent comment by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that the relationship between the two countries needs “recalibration.”
In an interview with Al Arabiya Television on the sidelines of the 6th Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, he said that Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US is strategic and decades-long and that relations are ongoing.
Al-Jadaan said that the Kingdom continues its relationship with the United States. “We should not be blamed for protecting the interests of Saudi Arabia and its people, and we understand the opinion of other parties, including the United States.”
“The Saudi foreign minister, minister of energy, and Saudi ambassador to the United States stressed that the relationship with the United States is not that of one or two years or one or two deals, but rather a strategic relationship that extends over many decades, and what is happening now in terms of the differences in viewpoints are well known between the two countries,” he said.
Al-Jadaan said that the Kingdom’s banking sector is very strong and there are no challenges to liquidity in the sector. He noted that the investment initiative presents two important messages. “The first is that by attending the forum, it becomes clear that the world has realized the reality of the great changes and developments in the Kingdom, which were not expected to happen so quickly. Numerous interviews with investors and officials from all countries of the world showed that they do not believe what is happening and that the promises are realized through the implementation of social, economic and financial transformation, which is proven by numbers that do not lie,” he said.
According to Al-Jadaan, the second message is the large presence of the local investment community with great enthusiasm for investment, as the investment rate grew by 19 percent during the first nine months of 2022 compared to the previous period last year. “The high rate of consumption and government spending supports the empowerment of the private sector, and thus the Kingdom presents its message abroad, that it is a country that plans, works hard and achieves results,” he said.
The finance minister said that the Gulf countries are witnessing a very large economic boom supported by proactive plans, which started implementing since three to four years and are now reaping their fruits, and their inflation is at the minimum levels, while the Kingdom’s economy is classified as the fastest growing among the G20 countries.
Regarding the expected budget surpluses during the current year, amounting to SR90 billion, Al-Jadaan said that the distribution of the financial surplus will be determined in the first quarter of next year, with the end of the current fiscal year, as the committee is studying the distribution of surpluses, whether to increase government reserves with the Central Bank or to go a portion to the National Development Fund and another portion into the Public Investment Fund.
Regarding the announced increase in budget spending, the minister said that the budget was presented before the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and inflation rates did not reach their current levels, and thus there was an increase in import prices. Subsequently, the Kingdom announced support for citizens through the Citizen’s Account Program and social security support, apart from increasing the strategic food stock and accelerating the implementation of some projects.
Al-Jadaan also emphasized that reforms are fixed and do not change, and fiscal policies depend on the economic situation, including taxes.