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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia ink agreement to finance $1bn oil derivatives

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Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia inked an agreement on Thursday to finance oil derivatives worth $1 billion, Economic Affairs Ministry confirmed.

The development comes amid news reports that Saudi Arabia is augmenting plans to increase the amount of investment and deposit in cash-strapped Pakistan which is struggling with a worsening currency crisis.

According to an official statement, the agreement was inked by Economic Affairs Secretary Dr Kazem Niaz, and Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Murshed.

Dr Niaz, speaking on the occasion, revealed that the pact was an extension of previously signed agreements in 2019 and 2021 valued at $4.44 billion to finance oil derivatives in Pakistan.

Since its establishment, he said, the SFD had supported more than 40 projects and programmes in different development sectors valued at approximately $1.4 billion.

‘All the programmes were aimed at helping the country achieve its sustainable development goals and build a prosperous future,” he added.

For his part, SFD CEO said that the agreement emphasised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to continue supporting the brotherly Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia mulls increasing Pakistan deposit 

Islamabad’s efforts to shore up the country’s forex reserves with the help of Saudi Arabia — amid a worsening currency crisis — have started paying off as Riyadh is considering ‘beefing up’ its deposit in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) from $3 billion to $5 billion.

According to Saudi media, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman earlier this week directed his financial officials to study increasing the Pakistan deposit by $2 billion.

The development came after the Saudi crown prince’s meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, who was on his first overseas official visit to the kingdom.

Last month, the SFD extended its term for the $3 billion deposit in the SBP which was set to mature on December 5.

The SBP had signed an agreement with the SFD in November 2022 to receive $3 billion, to be placed in the central bank’s account with an aim to improve its foreign exchange reserves.

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Donald Lu visits Finance Minister Aurangzeb at the World Bank headquarters.

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Wednesday saw Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb meet US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst.

The finance minister briefed US officials on Pakistan’s reform plan at the World Bank. Meeting both delegations decided to improve bilateral ties.

Meeting topics included alternative energy, agriculture, climate, and tech industry. Boosting the Pakistan-US economic partnership was another finance ministry priority.

With US officials, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb addressed IT, agriculture, and other business potential.

Pakistan would collaborate with the US International Development Finance Corporation and Exim Bank, according to Muhammad Aurangzeb.

His name is Donald Lu.
Over 30 years of US government service for Lu as a foreign service officer.

What Pakistan calls the “cipher” dispute involves the American official. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder claimed that a supposed official letter between Washington and Islamabad proved his ousting as PM was a US conspiracy.

Washington has strongly refuted Khan’s allegations.

The State Department’s top South and Central Asia diplomat is Donald Lu, assistant secretary of state.

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Huge investment potential exists in the telecom and IT sectors. Shaza Fatima

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According to Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication, there are numerous investment prospects in Pakistan’s IT and telecom sectors.

She noted that the current administration is dedicated to fostering foreign investment in the nation, in line with the Prime Minister’s goal.

According to a news release, CEOs Wateen Adil Rashid and Muhammad Shahbaz Khan of Taavun (Pvt) Limited, who paid her a visit on Tuesday, spoke with Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication Shaza Fatima Khawaja.

She declared that the private sector would receive complete support because it is essential to growing our exports.

Regarding youngsters, she stated that they are our greatest asset and that efforts are being made to further their growth.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates was thanked by Shaza Fatima for his particular interest in promoting additional investment in Pakistan’s telecom industry.

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WB pledges complete support for changes aimed at stabilizing Pakistan’s economy.

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Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Muhammad Aurangzeb, met with President of the World Bank Group, Ajay Banga, according to a press release from the ministry of finance here. During the meeting, the minister discussed Pakistan’s progress under the nine-month Standby Arrangement (SBA) program as well as ongoing reforms in priority areas of taxation, energy, and privatization.

According to the statement, the minister also extended an invitation to the president to visit Pakistan, and both parties acknowledged the necessity of a rolling 10-year country framework plan.

The minister also talked on safeguarding Pakistan’s eligibility for concessional funding and future project pipeline during a meeting with Masatsugu Asakawa, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The chief executive officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Scott Nathan, also met with the minister of finance.

They discussed during the conference how DFC may increase its investments in Pakistan after resolving unresolved conflicts in a cooperative manner.

According to the minister, the government is supporting creative financing strategies to maximize PPP potential and private sector participation.

According to the statement, he gave his word that the government will do everything in its power to assist investment projects by both foreign and local businesses in Pakistan.

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