Saudi Arabia can maintain current spending -fin min

RIYADH Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:57am EST

RIYADH Jan 22 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is able to maintain its current level of government spending in the medium term and beyond, Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said on Tuesday.

Asked whether strong growth in government spending was sustainable, Alassaf told reporters: "We have the...ability to continue this scale of spending.

"We have the reserves, as well as we are reducing our debt almost to zero. So we can continue in the medium term and even beyond that," he said.

The world's No.1 oil exporter has set a record state budget of 820 billion riyals ($219 billion) for 2013, 19 percent higher than the amount budgeted for 2012.

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