EconSource: Saudi Government to Focus on Raising Efficiency of Public Spending
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Wednesday that the government’s economic vision would focus on increasing the efficiency of government spending and raising returns on investments.

He said that the economy had maintained real growth despite economic volatility and a drop in global oil prices. Salman added that Riyadh has been able to preserve its public debt levels and reiterated the country’s support for a stable oil market. He said Riyadh is pursuing a balanced oil policy that will protect the interests of present and future generations. Salman’s comments on the economy were distributed to members of the Shura Council and released on the Council’s official twitter account following a brief televised speech by Salman to the advisory body on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia’s stock market edged up in early trade on Wednesday before the speech. [Reuters, 12/23/2015]
Saudi Arabia and Tunisia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and three agreements in Riyadh on Tuesday amid Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi’s two day visit. An MOU and an agreement in the field of civil protection and civil defense were cosigned by Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef and Tunisian Minister of National Defense Farhat Horchani. Horchani told TAP that the first agreement is related to military cooperation and provides for the creation of a joint military committee that will convene once a year. An agreement was also signed between the Saudi Fund for Development and the Tunisian Ministry of Development, Investment, and International Cooperation to finance the construction of a power station in Tunisia. Finally, a cooperation agreement was signed to regulate overland transport of persons and goods. [Saudi Gazette, TAP, 12/22/2015]
Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) on Wednesday changed the terms of payment for wheat purchased in its tenders. The move may give the state-grain buyer more time to make payments amid an acute shortage of foreign currency. “The letters of credit can now be opened up to 180 days after signing the contract,” said GASC Vice Chairman Mamdouh Abdel Fattah. There had previously been no ability to defer payment. Abdel Fattah declined to give a reason for the change, but traders said that it was prompted by the country’s worsening currency crisis. [Reuters, 12/23/2015]
Morocco will start targeting inflation in 2016 and will move towards a more flexible currency exchange system, Central Bank Governor Abdellatif Jouahri said Tuesday. The bank reduced the euro’s weighting in the currency basket used to set the dirham’s exchange rate in April in an effort to make its currency regime more flexible. The move had been recommended by the International Monetary Fund, which gave Morocco a $5 billion credit line last year to help it pursue economic reforms. Jouahri said the bank plans to begin targeting inflation “in concomitance with a more flexible currency regime.” He said this could happen in the first quarter of 2016, but the timing has not been decided. [Reuters, 12/22/2015]
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Saudi government to focus on raising efficiency of public spending