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Saudi Arabia Agrees Plans to Move Away From Oil Profits

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Saudi-Oil

The Saudi cabinet has approved sweeping economic reforms aimed at moving the country away from its dependence on oil profits.

Just over 70% of revenues came from oil last year but it has been hit by falling prices.

One part of the plan will see shares sold in state-owned oil giant Aramco to create a sovereign wealth fund.

Announcing the reforms, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described his country as being addicted to oil.

The Vision 2030 plan, he told the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel, would ensure “we can live without oil by 2020”.

Among the reforms he announced in his interview were:

  • Shares worth less than 5% of Aramco, a company he valued at up to $2.5tn (£1.7tn), will be sold
  • Some of the proceeds will go towards a sovereign wealth fund worth $2tn
  • A new visa system will allow expatriate Muslims and Arabs to work long term in Saudi Arabia
  • Steps will be taken to diversify the economy, including investment in mineral mining and expanding military production
  • Participation of women in the workforce to increase

Even just selling 1% of Aramco would create the biggest initial public offering in history, the prince said, outstripping blockbuster sales like Facebook and Alibaba.

The IMF called the Saudi plan an “ambitious, far-reaching effort” but warned implementation would be a challenge.



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