Saudi Arabia’s Collections from VAT Double Expectations in 2018; Foreign Investment Rebounds

Foreign investment into the Kingdom and VAT collections both more than doubled in 2018 over the previous year, government officials revealed this week as information regarding the Kingdom’s 2019 budget are published.

Reuters reports that the Kingdom saw a rebound in foreign investment into Saudi Arabia in 2018 to 13 billion riyals ($3.5 billion), more than double in 2017, citing comments from economy and planning minister Mohammed al-Tuwaijri.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia collected 45.6 billion riyals ($12.16 billion) from value-added tax (VAT) in 2018, more than double its initial estimate, according to Reuters.

Additionally, the Kingdom collected more than 50 billion riyals ($13.33 billion) so far this year from settlements reached with detainees in a crackdown on corruption launched at the end of 2017.

The Kingdom plans to spend a record amount this coming year, boosting government spending by 7 percent next year, according to the 2019 budget. Spending is set to fall in its current top two spending categories: defense and education, while the latter is set to take over the former as the top spending item.