Saudi Arabia redrafts crown prince’s transformation plan

7 Sep 2017   Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is redrafting its main reform plan just over a year after its much-hyped launch, stripping out some areas earmarked for change and extending the timeline of other targets. The move suggests that Riyadh may have realised that some of the objectives in its National Transformation Plan were over ambitious. The government has been reworking the NTP, centrepiece of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to overhaul the oil-dependent economy, since July. An internal document seen by the Financial Times says the amended plan, dubbed NTP 2.0, will “change existing initiatives and add new ones”. “The timeline of the NTP will continue to 2020, but the plan requires implementation of objectives for 2025 and 2030,” it says. Reforms that had been under the NTP have shifted to other programmes as the government seeks to develop a more manageable agenda. Core elements of the original plan included privatising state assets, creating 1.2m private sector jobs and reducing unemployment from 11.6 per cent to 9 per cent by 2020. The partial privatisation of Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, sits outside the NTP, but is critical to Prince Mohammed’s overall plans. No suggestion is made that the NTP’s redrafting will affect the initial public offering of 5 per cent of Aramco, planned for next year.

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