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Tue 24 Mar 2015 12:20 PM

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Saudi Arabia reshuffles gov't funds under finance ministry

Move will allow for more focus on the finance ministry's core budget responsibilities, according to a royal decree

Saudi Arabia reshuffles gov't funds under finance ministry
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Saudi Arabia has moved authority over big institutional funds from the finance ministry to other ministries, to allow the finance ministry to focus on its core budget responsibilities, state news agency SPA reported on Monday, citing a royal decree.

The announcement, made after a weekly cabinet meeting, was the latest in a string of steps to reorganise the government's economic policy apparatus since King Salman assumed the throne in January.

Each institutional fund will now belong to a ministry or other body related to its function, and be chaired by the minister. For instance, the Public Investment Fund will report to the new Council of Economic and Development Affairs, a body created by King Salman and chaired by one of his sons.

The Public Investment Fund, established in 1971 to help finance strategic economic projects, has assets under management worth about $5.3 billion, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, which tracks state-run funds.

"The restructuring should be seen in a positive way - it enhances the country's technical abilities, and it is in line with the new administration led by King Salman that wants to bring change to enhance capacity and efficiency," said John Sfakianakis, Middle East director of fund manager Ashmore Group.

The Saudi Credit and Savings Bank will now report to the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Public Pension Agency will be under the Ministry of Civil Service, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund will be under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Agricultural Development Fund will belong to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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