Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to lower its current budget deficit of $97.9b to $87b in 2016 by making government projects more efficient and cost-effective, cutting public spending by introducing reforms to energy subsidies, and rising revenues from taxes and privatization over the next five years, as Al-Arabiya and Reuters reported. King Salman insisted that the 2016 budget would launch a phase in which the kingdom would diversify its revenues.
Meanwhile, the prices of domestic fuel, water, and electricity have already increased. The price of 95 octane gasoline climbed to $0.24 a liter. The government plans to further introduce a value-added tax and raise taxes on soft drinks and tobacco. Privatization was also touted as another measure to reduce the impact of falling oil prices on state finances.
According to an expert cited by Bloomberg, Riyadh’s military expenditures were another major drain on the budget, thanks to the war in Yemen.