Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance announced that SAR210.0 billion (USD56.0 billion) would be spent on defence when it released the 2018 budget on 19 December, a 10% increase on the SAR190.9 billion approved for 2017.
According to the Statement of the State Budget for 2018 – which for the first time included limited details on how the defence budget would be spent – SAR10.2 billion of the total will be allocated for “new development programmes and projects”.
A further SAR26.5 billion will be allocated for a range of activities aimed at enhancing military capabilities and readiness, with support for the local defence industrial sector also included within this funding. SAR3.5 billion will also be provided to support the military education sector.
Budgetary documentation also revealed that actual defence spending for 2017 is expected to reach SAR224 billion, a 17.4% increase on the SAR190.9 billion approved under the initial budget for the year. The 2018 budget consequently represents a significant increase over the approved budget for 2017, but a 6.7% reduction compared to expected levels of expenditure for 2017.
If spending for 2017 reaches this projected level, the Saudi defence budget will be the third largest in the world, behind only the United States and China.
Source : Jane's Defence Budgets
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