Egypt Independent

Saudi finance ministry to close annual accounts early in austerity step



Saudi Arabia's finance ministry will close its accounts for this year's budget on Nov. 15, the ministry said on Sunday in a fresh sign that it is clamping down on spending as low oil prices slash state revenues.
 
Traditionally, the ministry has closed its books in mid-December each year, but last year it brought this date forward to mid-November. Sunday's statement said it would follow a similar approach for 2016.
 
The early book-closing makes it easier for the ministry to reject new requests for funds and prevent other government agencies from wasting unspent funds on purchases of non-essentials in the final weeks of the year.
 
The government posted a record budget deficit of $98 billion last year, a massive 15 percent of gross domestic product, and has projected the gap will shrink to $87 billion this year through spending cuts and higher non-oil revenues.