Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman visiting Grand Mosque in Makkah
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Image Credit: AFP

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday said the kingdom would continue to strike with an “iron fist” those who threatened its security and stability. The warning, in a speech carried by Saudi state news agency SPA, came after Daesh earlier claimed responsibility for an attack in Jeddah this week. “We will continue to hit with an iron fist against anyone who thinks of threatening our security and stability,” the crown prince was quoted as saying.

In a speech addressing the Shoura Council, the crown prince said that the Kingdom has achieved exponential growth in the past three years and expressed his optimism that growth will accelerate after the ongoing coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.

PIF to inject $40 bln annually in economy

Crown Prince also said that the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) will inject 150 billion riyals annually ($40 billion) in the economy in 2021 and 2022, state news agency reported on Thursday.

Mohammed bin Salman  added that the fund managed to create a higher return of investments at a minimum of 7%, from 2% since its establishment, with some investments exceeding 70% and others making a return of more than 140%, adding that it became one of the "key growth drivers" for the Saudi economy.

Also, he stated that assets, including real estate and stocks, worth tens of billions of Riyals has been transferred to finance ministry and will reflect on revenues once liquidated. 

Prince Mohammed said that although corruption had been rife in the Kingdom and previously spread like “cancer,” the anti-corruption campaign has been very successful and has recovered SR 247 billion riyals or 20% of total non oil revenues in settlements within 3 years.

According to crown prince PIF created more than 190,000 jobs over past 4 years. "Saudi Arabia has one of the largest and most important economies in the world and the government has reformed the labor market to attract value-added employees," the prince added.

The Crown Prince also said he was working hard on doubling the size of the Kingdom’s economy and diversifying it away from reliance on oil, and that the Kingdom made unprecedented achievements in less than four years.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest and most important economies in the world, and we are working hard on doubling the size of the economy and diversifying it… The government considers the non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the main indicator for the success of our economic plans,” he said.

“In 2016, Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP was worth 1.8 trillion riyals ($480 billion), and we started planning to double that at a rapid pace. The result was accelerated growth in the past three years, at 1.3 percent in 2017, 2.2 percent in 2018, 3.3 percent in 2019 and more than 4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, despite some economic challenges,” he added.

The Crown Prince said that despite the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, the Kingdom is considered one of the 10 best countries in dealing with the economic impact of the pandemic among the G20 countries.

“We are optimistic that the growth rate will begin to acceleration as the pandemic begins to subside and life returns to normalcy. We will have one of the fastest growing non-oil GDPs among the G20 countries,” he said.