Bigger private sector role in GDP sought

01 June 2017

Saudia Arabia is targeting to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 per cent to 65 per cent as part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, said a top official.

This will be achieved through increasing the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and through the privatisation of government entities, said Dr Fahad bin Sulaiman Al Tekhaifi, deputy chairman of the board, and president of the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) at the recent Saudi Arabia Forum organised by Meed in Riyadh.

“We are trying to make the private sector a real partner,” he said. “We need to learn how to utilise the technical abilities [of the private sector] to address the [country’s] needs and realise the 2030 programme.”

With billions of dollars worth of investment required to meet the aims of the Vision 2030, the private sector will play a key role in delivering vital infrastructure and services.

Richard Paton, head of infrastructure advisory, Middle East and South Asia, head of PPP and Public Sector Strategy, deal advisory, KPMG, outlined the benefits of utilising public-private partnerships (PPP) to develop infrastructure from utilities and transport to healthcare and education.

“PPPs reduce the requirement for capital costs, reducing pressure on government budgets, and also allows risk transfer,” said Paton.

Paton also discussed the planned shift of role for government in the kingdom, from a service provider to a regulator. He said that the kingdom’s airport company, General Authority for Civil Aviation (Gaca) was a prime example of this, with the government aviation body set to split into two, with the government becoming a regulator and the private sector building and operating airports.

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