By Reuters www.arabianbusiness.com
Saudi Arabians are anticipating with hope, doubt and worry the release this week of a government plan to liberate the kingdom from its reliance on oil, which could solve deep-rooted problems but bring economic pain.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 30-year-old son of King Salman, is to announce on Monday his “Saudi Vision 2030”, which is expected to set goals for the next 15 years and a broad policy agenda to reach them, official sources say.
Economic details of the vision, a package of state budget reforms, regulatory changes and policy initiatives for the next five years known as the “National Transformation Plan”, are expected to be released four to six weeks later.
Reform drives have come and gone in Saudi Arabia several times in the past few decades with only modest results. The kingdom remains dangerously dependent on oil exports and low global prices created a state budget deficit of nearly $100 billion in 2015, emphasising the need for change.