Saudi Arabia on Thursday said it would decrease its planned spending in 2020 by around five per cent, Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan said, amid declining oil prices due to coronavirus outbreak.
The government decided to reduce spending in areas where it will have the least social and economic impact, amounting to 50 billion riyals (or 13.3 billion dollars).
The move, it said was aimed at reducing the impact of low oil prices and that additional measures would be taken to deal with a further drop expected.
Spending was estimated at 1.02 trillion riyals in the 2020 budget announced in December and revenue at 833 billion riyals.
Al-Jadaan said that the government had allocated the finances needed to implement preventive measures to deal with the pandemic and limit its spread.
Saudi Arabia, which has reported 238 confirmed coronavirus cases, has halted the Muslim Umrah pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah and suspended international flights.
This, he said, was part of a series of decisions aimed at preventing an outbreak in the kingdom.
The decision comes after the Ministry of Energy instructed oil giant Aramco to increase production to 12.3 million barrels per day, bpd, in months, which is 300,000 bpd more than its current maximum.