October 19, 2016 / 6:50 PM / a year ago

Payments to Saudi construction firms will rise, finance minister says

RIYADH, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Delays in state payments to construction firms are due to “technical reasons” and the payments will increase in the coming period, Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said on Saudi-owned television network MBC in a programme broadcast on Wednesday.

The construction industry has been hit hard this year by state spending cuts, part of an austerity drive in response to low oil prices, and by months-long delays in the government settling its debts to contractors. Industry executives have said billions of dollars may be involved.

Alassaf did not describe the technical problems but said payments to companies were now “stable” and would rise. He did not give specific numbers. (Reporting by Ali Abdelatti in Cairo and Marwa Rashad in Riyadh; Writing by Andrew Torchia)

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