Sudairi estimated unpaid dues for construction firms alone totaled 80 billion riyals.
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Saudi Arabia has avoided an economic crisis due to low oil prices this year but the outlook for state finances and growth will remain murky for many months to come, businessmen and analysts in the kingdom say. Six months after the government launched its most radical economic reforms in decades, it has scored several victories. Drastic spending cuts seem to be reducing its budget deficit, which totaled a record 367 billion riyals ($98 billion) last year, by much more than originally planned.Bankers in contact with Saudi economic officials expect the 2016 budget deficit, which will be revealed when the government announces its 2017 budget plan in late December, to come in well below Riyadh's original projection of 326 billion riyals.The government has reduced or suspended payments that it owes to construction firms, medical establishments and even some of the foreign consultants who helped to design the economic reforms.Between 1 million and 2 million of Saudi Arabia's 10 million foreign workers may leave over the next couple of years as the economic slowdown causes layoffs and the government seeks to steer Saudi citizens into jobs previously held by foreigners, a top executive at a big Saudi company said.
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