Saudi Arabia to launch plan for the future April 25

Riad Hamade

Saudi Arabia will announce a comprehensive plan to prepare the kingdom for the post-oil era on April 25, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.

The “Vision for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” will encompass several developmental, economic, social and other programs, Prince Mohammed said in an interview on Thursday at King Salman’s private farm in Diriyah, the original home of the Al Saud royal family.

One component of the plan is the National Transformation Program, which will be launched a month or 45 days after this month’s announcement, said the prince, who is the king’s son and second-in-line to the throne of the world’s top oil exporter. The plan to transform Saudi Aramco from an oil company into an energy and industrial conglomerate, as well as the future of the Public Investment Fund, will also be part of the comprehensive vision, he said.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to overhaul the economy to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil after the plunge in crude prices. Prince Mohammed said in an interview late last month that the plan involves raising non-oil revenue by $100 billion by 2020 as well as turning the PIF into the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund for the kingdom’s most prized assets.

As part of that strategy, the prince said Saudi Arabia will sell less than 5 percent of Aramco’s parentin an initial public offering that could happen as early as next year. The company will be transferred to the PIF, which will “technically make investments the source of Saudi government revenue, not oil.” the prince said in the earlier interview.

The fund will then play a major role in the economy, investing at home and abroad. The PIF ultimately plans to increase the proportion of foreign investments to 50 percent of the fund by 2020 from 5 percent now, excluding Aramco.