We need our money, says Saudi
Saudi Arabia, the IMF's largest Arab shareholder, rejects rumors that it will contribute more money to the economic body, claiming it will use its reserves for the kingdom’s development.
November 16, 2008 1:59 by kippreport
Saudi Arabia has no plans to offer extra funds to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf has told Reuters. “There were lots of rumors that we were coming here to pay the bill, there is no such thing,” he said.
Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Saudi Arabia hoping to persuade the country to contribute more to the IMF.
“This is his (Brown’s) opinion. This is not our opinion. We are not going to pay more or less than others. We have been playing our role responsibly and we will continue to play our role, but we are not going to finance the institutions just because we have large reserves,” Assaf said. “These reserves are for the development of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There is no specific emergency fund for the IMF or any other institution.”
In short, Saudi Arabia will not play the ‘knight in shining armor’ to help emerging economies during the financial crisis. It may have the extra money, but it’s currently concentrating on its own economy.
Though the Middle East has suffered less than the some of the other parts of the world, the economic crisis has played havoc in the region. The Saudi stock market lost 54.55 percent of its value this year. Even the oil prices, which were near $150 per barrel during July this year, are currently under $60 a barrel.
Saudi’s King Abdullah has just announced at the G20 summit that his country plans to implement a $400 billion program to invest in the oil and government sectors over the next five years.
Saudi says that it has been a generous contributor to international institutions. However, because it is one of the richest countries in the world, and houses the world’s largest oil reserves, are other countries right to expect more contributions? Should Saudi look towards doing more, maybe even investing more in developing economies to help improve their economic situation? Or has the kingdom done enough?