Mohammed bin Salman
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Source: Kremlin

It appears like Saudi leaders see aspects of the highly touted National Transformation Plan (NTP) as overly ambitious.

Riyadh has begun redrafting the wide-reaching plan - an integral part of the overall Vision 2030 put forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The redraft has been dubbed NTP 2.0 and aims to "change existing initiatives and add new ones," according to a document reported by Financial Times.

"There is a recognition that too many of these targets were too aggressive and maybe having too much impact on the economy," a Saudi government advisor said.

What will change?

Prince Mohammed's original plan aimed to diversify the kingdom's oil-dependent economy and institute major economic reforms. While these goals will remain at NTP 2.0's core, the methods and timelines will be adjusted.

Privatizing state assets, creating over a million private sector jobs, and reducing unemployment significantly were major aspects of the original plan. 

Many of these initiatives have already moved forward over the past year.

"The broader privatization program, as well as other initiatives such as providing more affordable housing and reforming the financial sector, will be run outside of the NTP by different ministries," Financial Times explains.

A consultant to the Saudi government explained to the British publication that the "redrafting process was inevitable" due to the kingdom's unwieldy bureaucracy, which was struggling to meet targets just over three years away.

Saudi Arabia
The Saudi economy is dependent on oil Source: Flickr/Day Donaldson

Vision 2030 will still move forward

Riyadh's Vision 2030 may be ambitious, but as Saudi leaders have stressed, it's absolutely necessary for the kingdom's survival.

Last year, Saudi Arabia's Deputy Economy Minister, Mohamed Al Tuwaijri, said that the kingdom will face bankruptcy in three to four years if the initiatives of NTP are not followed. 

The country is also expected to go into an economic recession this year for the first time since 1999.

But major reforms are taking place and Saudis are hopeful, especially with their confidence in the charismatic leadership of the young crown prince

Since Prince Mohammed's rapid rise to power, Saudi youth – which comprise the majority of the country's population – have been impressed by the changes.

At the same time, some experts are concerned about the ongoing redraft.

"Flexibility is great, but changing the goalposts isn’t a healthy habit," a government advisor said.

A final draft of the revised plan will be released in October. Only time will tell whether or not NTP 2.0 can truly transform the kingdom.