Saudi will invest up to $25 billion in Pakistan

Saudi Arabia will invest up to $25 billion in Pakistan over the next two to five years in various sectors, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said on Monday, an- nouncing that his interim govern- ment would also revive a stalled privatisation process. Speaking to journalists at his of- ficial residence, Kakar said that the Saudi investment would come in the mining, agriculture and information technology sectors, and was a part of the push to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

Pakistan is embarking on a tricky path to economic recovery under the caretaker government after a $3 bil- lion loan programme, approved by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in July, averted a sovereign debt default. At present, Islamabad is dealing with a balance of payments crisis and requires billions of dollars to fi- nance its trade deficit and repay its debts. If confirmed by Riyadh, the investments worth $25 billion would be the biggest ever by the Saudi Arabia in Pakistan. Prime Minister Kakar did not specify projects Riyadh was looking at for investment, but last month Barrick Gold Corp said it was open to bringing in Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund as one of its partners in Reko Diq gold and copper mine – one of the world’s largest underdeveloped copper-gold areas. Pakistan’s untapped mineral de- posits are conservatively valued at about $6 trillion, Kakar said, adding that the Reko Diq project was about to start soon.

He called for all the stakeholders to formulate a model to explore the mineral-rich areas to make the world see Pakistan through a different prism. Calling the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) a strategy for economic revival, Prime Minister Kakar said that the initiative focused on mines and minerals, besides agriculture, defense production and information technology. He said that without redesigning the government structure, the interim set-up was focused on re- arranging fiscal and monetary policies to build an edifice for economic revival.

“The government is pursuing a policy of doing the doable, and providing a strategic direction to the economic planning.”

Out-of-box solutions He also spelled out the economic re- form agenda of his government, saying that the imminent steps included the push to complete the privatization PM KAKAR

Islamabad anticipates brief stopover by MBS KAMRAN YOUSAF ISLAMABAD, Pakistan is pushing for the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is traveling to India later this week for the G-20 summit. While the Foreign Office remains tight-lipped regarding the potential stopover by the Saudi de facto ruler on his way to New Delhi for the summit, sources within the Prime Minister’s Office have not dismissed the possibility. A source within the Prime Minister’s Office noted, “Nothing is official yet, but there are signals that the Saudi PAKISTAN MBS

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