Irfan Iqbal Khan
  Editor-in-Chief
  Saudi Commerce & Economic Review   ikhan@chamber.org.sa

Expand Vision

03.02.2017


The 2017 Budget reveals several initiatives for tighter control over capital spending and revenue diversification, like the introduction of excise tax in 2017, and value-added tax in 2018. It slashes the 2017 deficit by 33 percent with more stress on balanced development and improvement of services. The business community, especially foreign investors, were waiting with bated breath, anticipating a few surprises in the new budget due to subdued oil prices all through last year.

The economy slowdown in 2016 saw the outflow of foreign workers in large numbers. And the recent introduction of new levies, creating discomfort in the expatriate community, will have an impact on many businesses. But it is in line with the National Transformation Program’s (NTP) target of reaching a balanced budget by 2020.

An old fable goes that a wise man was walking from one town to another with a few of his followers and they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there to rest for a while and the wise man said to one of his followers, 'I am very thirsty, could you please go and get me some water from the lake?'

As requested the follower walked to the lake and when he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water, and right at that moment, several bullock carts started crossing the lake. As a result of this, the water became very muddy and murky.

The follower thought, how can I give this muddy water to my leader to drink? So he went back and told the wise man that the water in the lake was very muddy and not fit to drink. 

After they had rested for about half an hour, the wise man again asked the same follower to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. As requested, the follower went to the edge of the lake and this time he found that all the mud had settled to the bottom and the water above it was crystal clear and looked fit to drink. So he filled his water bottle and took it to the wise man.

Moral: 'Mind can also be like that lake when it is disturbed about something, but if you just let it be and give it a little time, it will most likely settle down.'

Things take time to settle down, policies and decisions need time to show results.

What the government is trying to do is, in the imagery of the fable, relocating the place where clothes were washed and making new roads for the bullock carts to pass, thus facilitating the settling of the muddy waters to quench the thirst of the people. We must give it a little time. And the roadmap given to us by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in the form of NTP2020 and Vision 2030 are indeed indications of happier times ahead.

We can learn from the past and plan for the tomorrow. The present moment is where we will experience life. Today is the day where life's drama unfolds. It is the day filled with tremendous possibilities for growth and achievement. This moment can be a new beginning. So let's expand our vision and embrace the new beginning.

I wish you all a very prosperous 2017.

Cheers to your success!
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