Interviewed on MBC TV on October 19, Saudi Deputy Minister of Economy and Planning Dr. Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri said that given Saudi Arabia's dwindling reserves and the instability in the oil market, "bankruptcy would have been inevitable" if it had not implemented "bold reforms."
Host: "If the state had not taken the current measures, would we have faced the threat of bankruptcy?"
Al-Tuwaijri: "If we assume that oil remains at $40-$45 per barrel, and if we refrained from implementing such bold reforms, and assuming that the global economic circumstances remain the same - and, I remind you, that they might even get worse - bankruptcy would have been inevitable..."
Host: "Within how many years?"
Al-Tuwairji: "Three to four years."
Host: "Three years?!"
Host: "If we hadn't changed things, we would have gone bankrupt within three years?"
Al-Tuwairji: "If we hadn't taken such bold measures, it would have taken three years. It is a simple calculation. Our reserves would have diminished, our ability to borrow money would have been very limited, our only income, which is oil, is unstable, and we don't know what will happen in the other markets - Iran produces oil, Iraq produces oil, there are alternatives to oil..."
Host: "We would have gone bankrupt in three years if we hadn't carried out (reforms)..."
Al-Tuwairji: "Three years and a half."
Host: "Okay. But now that we have carried out the reforms..."
Al-Tuwairji: "Allah willing, we will move to economic growth and budget surplus, and the KSA will be where it deserves - among the G20 countries."