Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:28AM
Saudi Arabia has projected an increased spending in its budget for 2017 but has slightly reduced its military budget.
Saudi Arabia has projected an increased spending in its budget for 2017 but has slightly reduced its military budget.

Saudi Arabia has projected an increased spending in its budget for 2017 but has slightly reduced its military budget.

Based on official budget figures that were announced on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s spending could reach as high as $237 billion with revenues of $184 billion.

Figures also showed that Riyadh would be cutting slightly on its defense budget. The country - which is known as one of the world’s largest military spenders - would allocate a total of $50.8 billion on weapons.  Its military budget for 2016 stood at $3.8 billion.   

The oil-rich kingdom also expects to see a lower budget deficit next year. The deficit, as the news agencies have reported, could reach 8 percent of gross domestic product or $52.7 billion. This would be lower than the decline for 2016 at $79 billion, AP reported.

Nevertheless, the Saudi King Salman acknowledged that the country was already facing harsh times.

"Our economy is strong; we have enough strength to confront the economic challenges," King Salman said in front of his Cabinet on Thursday. The announcement, he said, comes amid "very turbulent economic conditions which many countries suffered from."

Last year, the kingdom cut back on spending due to sliding oil prices, the main economic engine for the kingdom, AP added.

Prices now sit at around $55 per barrel after crashing to a 13-year low in February.

Khaled al-Faleh, the Saudi oil minister, said that there will be a gradual lifting of fuel subsidies which will be replaced by cash handouts to citizens.