KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia/RIYADH, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s government plans to push back the target date for eliminating a big state budget deficit caused by low oil prices to 2023 from 2020, sources briefed by finance ministry officials told Reuters on Thursday.
Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan disclosed the change at a seminar on the economy that was closed to the media, the sources said.
The 2020 target for eliminating the deficit, which totalled a record $98 billion in 2015, was part of a long-term fiscal plan which Riyadh released in December. Officials are now moving the target back three years to avoid slowing economic growth excessively and hurting the economy, Jadaan told the seminar.
Spokesmen for the finance ministry did not answer emails and telephone calls seeking comment. (Reporting by Reem Shamseddine and Marwa Rashad; Writing by Andrew Torchia)