Saudi Arabia Plans to Increase State Spending by More than 7 Percent in 2019

Saudi Arabia plans to ramp up state spending by more than 7 percent in 2019, according to a budget released by the Finance Ministry on Tuesday.

Spending is projected to rise to $295 billion next year, Arab News reports, an increase of $25 billion over 2018’s figure of $270 billion.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

The move is seen as an effort to boost economic growth, which has been hurt by low oil prices. Although oil prices hit 3-year highs in the summer of this year, they have since slid in the face of a global supply glut and fears of slowing global growth.

A royal decree by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, also announced Tuesday, ordered the continuation of allowances covering the cost of living for civil sector employees for the new fiscal year. The royal allowances of 1,000 riyals a month ($266) are paid to civil servants and military personnel, and other allowances will continue for pensioners and those living on social security.

CNBC reports that Riyadh will also increase student benefits by 10 percent for the next fiscal year.