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DUBAI – Saudi Arabia wants to demystify its finances.
The kingdom is working on creating a consolidated balance sheet of its assets and liabilities which will include items currently kept off the oil-rich economy’s books, including the investments and debts of its powerful sovereign wealth fund.
“The main purpose of this programme is to have a financial equivalent of an MRI of the government balance sheet,” a Finance Ministry spokesman told Reuters, adding that it would include assets and liabilities that are currently “off-balance sheet”.
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman has put Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, at the center of reforms aimed at diversifying the economy of the world’s top oil exporter away from fossil fuel.
Under the prince’s chairmanship, PIF has transformed from a sleepy sovereign wealth fund into a global investment vehicle making multi-billion dollar bets on hi-tech companies such as Uber as well as other equity investments and pledging tens of billions of dollars to funds run by Japan’s Softbank.