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Aabed Alsaadoun

DBA Graduate - 2019

Thesis title

Determining the holistic impact of a restructuring of transportation fuel subsidies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Jonatan Pinkse
Purpose What are the reason(s) for writing the thesis or the aims of the research? The thesis tackles a highly relevant topic, which is critical to Saudi Arabia’s prospects – at the macro and micro levels. Indeed, the country’s domestic consumption of petrol, which is increasing further, is more than one-fourth of Saudi Aramco’s (the national petroleum and natural gas company) production. The risk of a self-perpetuating cycle forming are real and something needs to be done to manage the challenges in a pre-emptive manner. The situation is compounded with the historic reliance on costly subsidies that have kept local fuel prices at approximately 20% of the average global price. This study identifies and comprehensively evaluates efficacy of differing options in reforming oil prices in a manner that effectively balances needs of the population while ensuring the burden on the national exchequer is lowered. Design/methodology/approach How are the objectives of the thesis achieved? Please include the main method(s) used for the research and how you approached the topic. Also position your research within a theoretical or subject area. A multifaceted research approach has been employed to fully address the objectives underpinning the thesis. This comprises a rigorous literature review to collate and synthesize existing theoretical and practical case studies, a primary qualitative study to capture awareness, perceptions and behaviors of Saudi and expats living across Saudi Arabia and in-depth economic modelling to forecast micro (household expenditure, disposable income) and macro (inflationary, cost of production) impacts of varying hypothetical price reform scenarios.Findings What was found in the course of the research? You can use the key points from your thesis analysis, discussion, or results. The primary research and different datasets computed into tried and tested frameworks, such as the Input-Output and General Equilibrium models respectively, determined the likely repercussions on the manufacturing / provision cost of various industrial and service sectors as well as the potential inflationary outcomes for households. These two aspects were crucial to basing judgments on what price increase, as part of doing away with historical subsidies, would be most effective. It was evident that the ‘Low/moderator reform’ scenario offered the most ideal option as it kept the macro and micro economic indicators in a manageable space e.g. input costs within 25% and CPI/inflation under the 6% target. Findings from the literature review informed a checklist of watch outs that policymakers would have to be mindful of in implementing a successful fuel prices reform program. Research limitations/implications This section should include the implications for theory and your subject area(s) as well as suggestions for future research and any limitations in the research process. As with any analysis of this scale and scope, especially when undertaken at a government level, there is a risk that key parameters change on an ongoing basis – manifesting in evolving ground realities. With any reform package seeking to redress the balance between a traditionally rooted approach to regulating energy prices versus a more market forces driven model, there is a need to undertake more engagement with concerned stakeholders – perhaps a program of in-depth interviews could have been facilitated (this is not to state informal discussions and advice was not sought from my colleagues in the Ministry as well as other departments and functions). Practical implications All DBA theses should have practical implications for managers and organisations. What outcomes and implications for practice, applications and consequences does the thesis identify? How will the research impact upon organizations or business? What changes to practice do you recommend? The practical implications for those in different government Ministries and