After falling energy prices resulted in two consecutive years of economic decline, real growth of 1.9% is expected in 2018. The Ministerโ€™s budget presentation was largely aimed at consolidating this improvement and restructuring government expenditure to increase financial efficiency.

An important aspect of consolidating recent economic improvements is increasing the foreign exchange earnings of the non-energy sector, as the energy sector has traditionally accounted for 80% of foreign exchange earnings. Our recent experience with the variability of energy prices has awakened us to the urgent need to diversify income streams away from the energy sector.