DAVOS: Surplus revenues from oil production will be used to invest in “resilience”, Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim has said, referring to debt repayment, replenishment of reserves and accelerating transformation projects across the Kingdom.

“It will ultimately help the private sector or help our investments which will open the door for the private sector to increase its activity,” he told Arab News at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

With a $15 billion surplus, some of the projects owned and led by the Public Investment Fund will be supported so that they “are delivered sooner or more efficiently”, he said.

Al-Ibrahim also took note of the Kingdom’s census plans and urged all residents of Saudi Arabia to register.

“It is very important, it will affect our planning and then it will affect the services and public goods that will be made available to all residents of the Kingdom, citizens and expatriates,” he added.

The census was due to be launched in 2020 but has been delayed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic and strict lockdown measures introduced by the Saudi government to help stop the spread of the virus.

While the last census dates back to 2010, the Minister was confident that technological advancements made since then would ensure that the new data collected would be “sustainable”.

He said: “We don’t want to say nine years from now, ‘this data is nine years old, and I can’t trust it.’ No, we did a lot more surveys, we did more projects, components that gave you up-to-date data.

Al-Ibrahim was part of a delegation of seven Saudi ministers who participated in key forum events, including roundtables.

The delegation was led by Minister of State Ibrahim Al-Assaf and included Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha, and Deputy Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa Al-Saud.

“I think our ambition from this meeting as a delegation is to deepen our conversations in the agenda-setting process, and we have achieved that with what could be a smaller number of ministers. . But in number of engagements, high-level engagements, it’s probably one of the highest.

“It’s an opportunity for us to rub shoulders with policymakers, investors, the private sector and industry leaders because we have a wealth of knowledge, we have a lot of lessons learned from the last seven years that we can share.

Al-Ibrahim added: “But also, we have so many challenges that we still have to face that we can partner up and everyone is interested, everyone is watching.”