Saudi Arabia to increase investments, deposit in Pakistan
By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AA): Saudi Arabia will boost its investments in Pakistan to reach $10 billion and raise its deposits in Pakistan’s central bank to $5 billion, official media reported on Tuesday.
According to a statement run via the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Arabia is studying augmenting investments and deposit in Pakistan.
“This came within the framework of the existing communication between HRH the Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman) and Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, prime minister of Pakistan,” it added.
The announcement comes a day after Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir — who was on a week-long official visit to Saudi Arabia and UAE — held a meeting with Prince Salman in Madina and discussed ways to improve bilateral ties between the two countries.
It is unclear whether the cash deposit will be done immediately or Saudi Arabia will first wait for Pakistan to restore the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
Previously, the State Bank of Pakistan signed a $3 billion agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) for improving foreign exchange reserves.
The SFD had confirmed the rollover of a deposit worth $3 billion in September 2022 with a maturity date on Dec. 5 but Saudi Arabia extended the term on Dec. 2.
On Tuesday, the Gen Munir visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the second and last leg of his tour. He met UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a statement carried on the Emirates News Agency (WAM) said.
“The two sides reviewed cooperation relations and joint work between the UAE and Pakistan in defence and military affairs, as well as ways to strengthen them to serve the common interests of the two friendly countries,” the statement said.
It is believed that Pakistan is also seeking the UAE’s help in averting the economic crisis. Islamabad has to repay $2 billion to the UAE in the coming weeks but the government is hoping the Gulf state would roll over that debt.
Pakistan, whose foreign exchange reserves are at an eight-year low with $5.6 billion, has been struggling with cash problems.
Additional report from Pakistan and UAE media
[Map of Saudi Arabia by CIA Factbook/Public Domain]
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