Cabinet lauds budget boost; rejects attempts to politicize pilgrimage

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, presides over the Cabinet meeting in Jeddah, Monday. — SPA

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — The Council of Ministers on Monday highlighted the positive developments achieved in the performance of the state budget with a further progress in revenues, improvement in the efficiency of public spending, and decrease in the fiscal deficit.

The weekly session of the Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, at Al-Salam Palace here, noted that these achievements were made with maintaining the level of basic services provided to citizens in accordance with spending priorities of the government.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad said the Council noted this after reviewing the Ministry of Finance report on the performance of the state budget during the second quarter of the current fiscal year. The report reflected an improvement in the state’s performance of public finances, and emphasized the progress achieved in the balanced financial performance in the medium term, as well as effectiveness of the reforms and economic measures that were part of the National Transformation Program within the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, that was instrumental in bringing in more non-oil revenues.

While reviewing the preparations being made by different ministries and sectors in serving the pilgrims, the Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s strong rejection of any calls aimed at politicizing the sacred pilgrimage. The Council also highlighted the significance of making available maximum comfort, tranquility and safety to all the pilgrims.

The Crown Prince briefed the Council on his recent phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron during which they reviewed ways to combat terrorism and extremism. They also agreed to exert maximum efforts to dry up sources of terrorism, and emphasized a keenness to maintain security and stability of the region.

The Council also praised the graduation of the first batch of students at Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University. The batch participated in the Decisive Storm and Restoration of Hope military operations on the Kingdom’s southern border under the patronage of the Crown Prince. The Council appreciated the role of the soldiers stationed on the border and their determination to continue their distance studies and their keenness to obtain higher education at a time when they were honored to defend the homeland and stationed on its borders.

The Cabinet also strongly condemned terror attacks in Al-Arish in Egypt, Mirza Olang village of northern Afghanistan, explosion in a market in the Pakistani city of Quetta, raid onn a restaurant in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, and attack in the suburb of Levallois-Pérrét in Paris. While expressing the Kingdom’s solidarity with these countries in combating terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations, the Cabinet offered its condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the governments and their people and wished for speedy recovery of the injured.