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Saudi officially endorses economic plan away from oil

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Staff writer ▼ | June 7, 2016
The Saudi cabinet has approved a major plan to diversify the national economy away from oil and aiming to generate 450,000 non-government jobs by 2020.
Saudi Arabia butcher
Switching   Profits from the investment fund would help economic diversification
The National Transformation Programme (NTP) 2020, endorsed by cabinet late Monday, also seeks to cut public expenditures by 40 percent over the next five years and boost the contribution of the private sector.

NTP is one of several programmes designed to achieve the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030, an 84-page document released in April by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 30, who is leading the reform charge.

At the heart of Vision 2030 is a plan to float less than five percent of state oil firm Saudi Aramco on the stock market.

The proceeds would become part of the world's largest state investment fund, with $2 trillion in assets.

Profits from the investment fund would help economic diversification and provide an alternative to oil revenues that have fallen by about half since 2014.

The collapse has accelerated Saudi efforts to move away from petroleum which still accounts for the bulk of government income in the kingdom, which projected a deficit of $87 billion this year.

At a press conference fficials described the NTP as the first step in achieving the Vision. The 112-page NTP document is a five-year roadmap that lays out targets to be met by each government ministry, and their cost.

The NTP will be implemented through 543 initiatives across 24 government bodies at a cost of 270 billion riyals ($72 billion) over the next five years, Minister of State Mohammed al-Sheikh told the press conference in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.