Bloomberg: What's the Jamal Khashoggi story?
MBS: We hear the rumors about what happened. He's a Saudi citizen and we are very keen to know what happened to him. And we will continue our dialogue with the Turkish government to see what happened to Jamal there.
Bloomberg: He went into the Saudi consulate.
MBS: My understanding is he entered and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. I'm not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time.
BLOOMBERG: So he's not inside the consulate?
MBS: Yes, he's not inside.
BLOOMBERG: Turkish officials have said he's still inside.
MBS: We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises. The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. If they ask for that, of course, we will allow them. We have nothing to hide.
Bloomberg: Is he facing any charges in Saudi Arabia?
MBS: Actually, we need to know where Jamal is first.
Bloomberg: So he might be facing charges in Saudi Arabia?
MBS: If he's in Saudi Arabia I would know that.
Bloomberg: So he's not the person mentioned by Saudi Press Agency?
MBS: No, definitely not.
BLOOMBERG: The broader point is that if you add them all up - Germany, Canada, Ritz - there's an impression, among not only international investors, but also among Saudi businessmen -- which is the private sector you're trying to encourage -- that there's a nervousness that there might be a next decision that might be surprising.
MBS: We've talked about that a lot in the past. In 2015, we had to make a lot of surprises. We didn't want to reach a point where we would lose a lot of opportunities. Now the chances of a surprise is almost 1 percent. What we are sticking to is the vision, the program of 2020, then we will announce the program of 2025. There's no new taxation till 2030 and we will do our best to boost the economy and to boost the development of the private sector and all the industries.
Bloomberg: By increasing spending?
MBS: By increasing capital spending, increasing the size of the new Saudi development fund which has several funds under it, increasing money into the PIF to invest in Saudi Arabia and also abroad, making regulations easier, restructuring other industries to create more opportunities for growth and for more businesses to come.
Bloomberg: What about privatization?
MBS: In 2019, we will have more than 20 services that will be privatized, most of them in water, agriculture, energy and some of it in sports. Now we're talking with investors. Some of them here, some of them global. We want to make sure that these investors have the know how to run the businesses. We will own a little bit of those companies, as the Saudi government, to secure the quality for a period of time and also we are pushing that the majority of these companies when they move to the private sector, most of them will be IPO-ed. So the investors will own the majority, the minority will be for the Saudi government and a little bit will be IPO-ed on the stock market. We need this to increase transparency. We didn't want to move fast with unknown investors. Picking the right investor, putting it on the stock market, watching it clearly so you can really notice if there are any problems before they really happen so you can intervene to fix things.
So in 2019, more than 20 companies will definitely start privatizing. Most of the companies will be in desalination.
Source: Saudi Press Agency