Saudi Arabia is contemplating seeking funds for its new airport in the western town of Taif through sukuk issuance (Islamic bonds), said Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al Assaf on Monday. The minister said his department will cooperate with the Civil Aviation Authority to secure funds. "We had a successful experience with the aviation authority by issuing sukuk to fund certain projects and are planning to repeat the process to fund others. We have already agreed on construction of the new airport through private sector funds," he told a Saudi Arabic daily. Assaf added that the King Abdul Aziz airport in Jeddah is progressing on schedule and would be completed by end- 2014. A trial-basis commissioning is scheduled in the first five months of 2015, according to media reports. Meanwhile, the Saudi budget for 2014 has allocated SR7.747 billion ( $2.07 billion ) for nine new electric projects in in the Tabuk region, a report said. The director of Electricity Department in the region, Engineer Musaed bin Fahd Al-Qabbaa , said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that the projects include linking Tabuk region with Madinah by a united general electric grid, a power generation plant, and electricity transfer stations. (This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Jan. 7, 2014 )
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