DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The International Monetary Fund says oil exporting countries in the Middle East continue to have the world's largest energy subsidy bill and additional reforms are needed to curb expenditures.
An updated regional IMF outlook published on Tuesday says money spent on subsidies from these countries is down from $190 billion in 2014 to an estimated $86 billion a year. Still, this was largely due to a global decline in energy prices that saw the price of oil more than halved since 2014.
The report says generous subsidies and a reliance on government jobs is not sustainable.
The IMF says more private sector jobs will be needed for the 6.5 million people entering the workforce by 2022 across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Iran.