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While the Saudi fiscal year 2022 fiscal statement is expected to be released shortly, two Saudi economists told Arab News about their forecasts for the Kingdom’s fiscal performance.
A key difference is whether the Kingdom should run a surplus or a deficit.
“In my opinion, we could see a budget surplus in 2021 due to rising oil prices and VAT revenues this year,” Mohammed Al Suwayed, CEO of Razeen Capital, told Arab News.
He explained that the full reopening of the economy will serve as a “cushion” for any expected decline in oil sales in the fourth quarter compared to the third.
However, Mohamed Ramady, a London-based independent economist, predicted views similar to those found in the ministry’s pre-budget statement, as he expected deficits of SR 65 billion ($ 17.3 billion) and SR 51 billion for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Ramady explained that oil revenues will remain essential in the 2022 budget, with an estimated value of SR 903 billion. He added that oil prices will average $ 65 to $ 73 a barrel, up from $ 84 in the fourth quarter of this year.
New uncertainties over the omicron variant could push oil prices down next year, he said.
As for other sources of revenue, Ramady said, “Non-oil VAT revenue has been the foundation of the Saudi state, and the current 15% VAT rate is not expected to be reduced in 2022.”
“There will be a greater effort to increase non-oil revenues in 2022 through the sale and privatization of assets, especially in the water sector and grain elevators, with the PIF becoming the primary vehicle for domestic capital expenditure due to fundraising from assets owned by the PIF. sales, such as the recent successful sale of additional 5 percent STC shares, ”he added.