(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia is expected to announce its fiscal budget for 2014 on Dec. 23 during a special Cabinet session at Khoraim Gardens, outside Riyadh, sources said, adding that the Finance Ministry has stopped allocating funds from the current budget.
The last Cabinet session in Riyadh discussed all articles of the annual budget before its presentation to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for his endorsement, one source said.
Saudis are optimistic about the new fiscal budget, hoping that it would earmark more funds for welfare projects across the country.
Economists believe the budget surplus for 2013 would exceed SR225 billion.
Speaking to Arab News, economist Ihsan Buhulaiga, a former Shoura member, stressed that the budget should focus on strengthening the private sector for it to play the role of a catalyst to accelerate growth.
"I believe the government would continue its policy of increased spending to carry out mega projects," he said. "This will not only strengthen the private sector but also generate jobs for Saudis."
Fahd bin Juma, another economist, said he expected the Kingdom's actual spending this year to reach SR870 billion, exceeding the actual spending for 2012 by SR17 billion.
"I expect actual oil revenues in 2013 to reach SR1.08 trillion, bringing the total fiscal revenue to SR1.16 trillion. This will increase the surplus for this year to SR290 billion," he said.
In 2012 the surplus was SR96 billion because of a fall in oil prices.