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Government-by-Government Assessments: Saudi Arabia

During the review period, the government made some, but not all, budget documents publicly available online.  Information on debt obligations was publicly available online.  The limited data available in the government’s annual budget statement broke down expenditures by category, but not by ministry or agency.  Some significant, large state-owned enterprises did not have publicly available audited financial statements.  The annual budget statement did not show allocations to the royal family or Council of Ministers, and the government maintained off-budget accounts not subject to public oversight.  Deviations from planned expenditures and revenues were disclosed.  The supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence, but its reports were not publicly available.  The criteria and procedures by which the national government awards contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction were specified in law and regulation and appeared to be followed in practice.  Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was not consistently made publicly available.  The sovereign wealth fund disclosed its source of funding, and general approach to withdrawals. Saudi Arabia’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • publishing expenditures by ministry or agency in the budget;
  • making publicly available detailed and complete budget documents;
  • ensuring audit reports for significant, large state-owned enterprises are publicly available;
  • making audit reports of the government’s executed budget widely and easily accessible to the public within a reasonable period of time; and
  • make basic information on natural resource awards consistently available to the public.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future