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Pakistan-Saudi Investment Forum 2024 is under way in Islamabad

Saudi minister says Pakistan is very suitable for investment: Saudi govt, companies consider Pakistan high priority economic opportunity: Aurangzeb says Pakistan’s economy is picking up due to govt's ‘best policies’

By News Desk

May 6, 2024 09:42 AM


Pakistan-Saudi Investment Forum 2024 is under way in Islamabad

Saudi Deputy Investment Minister Ibrahim al-Mubarak

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Saudi Deputy Investment Minister Ibrahim al-Mubarak has declared that Pakistan is the “most suitable country” for investment and Saudi government and companies consider the country a high priority economic, investment and business opportunity, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The Saudi minister made the remarks at the much-awaited two-day Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Investment Forum 2024 which opened in Islamabad on Monday.

The Saudi minister declared that Pakistan is the “most suitable country” for investment and they want to take this partnership to the next level.

The Saudi investment minister said his country believes in the economic potential of Pakistan including its demography, location and natural resources, adding Pakistan is a major strategic partner for Saudi Arabia.

Referring to the fraternal ties rooted deep in common faith, culture and shared values, the Saudi minister said they want to see Pakistan as one of their leading international partners.

The Saudi minister said this gathering provides an opportunity to develop deeper understanding of the great opportunity available for investment in Pakistan. He expressed the confidence that the public and private sectors of both the countries can take their partnership to the next level.

Ibrahim Almubarak mentioned that Saudi Arabia is a home to about two million Pakistanis who have contributed significantly to the Kingdom's vision 2030.

Aurangzeb for continuity of economic policies 

Addressing the conference, Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb expressed the government’s commitment to fully facilitate the private sector to take the country towards export-led growth.  He said the government is focusing on bringing foreign direct investment to uplift various sectors.

Giving on an overview of the country's economic situation, Aurangzeb said it is on a positive trajectory. The agriculture GDP is growing at five percent on the back of bumper crops including that of sugarcane, rice, and wheat, he added.

He said that Pakistan is witnessing economic stability due to the “best policies” introduced by the government. Aurangzeb said continuity of the polities is a must for economic stability.

The finance minister said the country’s forex reserves are building up gradually, there is stability due to the government’s economic policies and they are taking steps to resolve the energy issue.

He was confident that the country's current account deficit will be less than a billion dollar during this fiscal year, saying Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have risen to nine billion dollars.

He said the local currency is stable over the last 10 months while the inflation is down to roughly 17 percent. He said foreign buying is also coming in Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

Aurangzeb said said Pakistan is seeking a larger and longer loan programme with the IMF for permanence in the macroeconomic stability and structural reforms. He said the IMF mission is expected in Pakistan in the next seven to 10 days to discuss the contours of the new loan programme.

The minister said the government will also accelerate the privatization process.

Musadik for focusing infrastructure development

In his remarks, Minister for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik emphasized that the private sector of both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia should work together to move towards diversification of economy and value addition. He said this will bring prosperity for both the country.

He emphasized collaboration between the two countries in various sectors including mines and minerals, tourism and agriculture. He said the private sector of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia should participate in infrastructure development which is pivotal in the way of unleashing the assets and wealth of both the countries.

Jam Kamal assures full facilitation to investors

In his remarks, Minister for Commerce Jam Kamal Khan assured to extend full facilitation to the investors. He said the present government is committed to bring a change in the economic landscape of the country.

SIFC coordinator vows to provide secure environment

National Coordinator Special Investment Facilitation Council Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ahmad expressed his gratitude to the Saudi leadership for always extending unflinching support to Pakistan.

Highlighting the potential of Pakistan in different sectors including mines and minerals, he said the SIFC is a political-military initiative to stimulate investment and achieve macro-economic stability. He said the SIFC adopts whole of the government approach to optimize multi-sector cooperation by reducing bureaucratic and lengthy processes.

He said the SIFC accords highest level of priority to all the investors especially from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He said they were cognizant of the concerns of the investors. He said the law enforcement agencies and the political and military hierarchy are totally committed to provide secure environment to all the investors including those from Saudi Arabia.

Saudi delegation in Pakistan

Two-day Pakistan-Saudi Arabia investment conference began Monday to promote bilateral trade and investment, besides fostering a new era of growth and prosperity for the people of both the countries.

A 50-member high-level business delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is also visiting Pakistan from May 5 to explore investment opportunities in different sectors as well as to forge strong bonds with local entrepreneurs.

Some 30 Saudi companies representing different economic sectors, including information technology, telecoms, energy, aviation, construction, mining exploration, agriculture and human resource development would be part of the delegation, which would be led by the Assistant Minister of Investment, a Ministry of Commerce official said on Sunday.

The ministry had selected a large number of Pakistani companies in the respective sectors whose officials would have business-to-business meetings with their Saudi counterparts, and would hopefully enter into business and investment deals, he added.

He said that Saudi Arabia was an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities, however, it was now undergoing a transformation to reduce oil dependence, diversify income sources and enhance competitiveness under the Vision 2030.

Currently, he said, the major exports of the Kingdom included mineral fuels, mineral oils, plastics and organic chemicals, whereas it was importing machinery, vehicles, and agricultural products.

The official said that during the first half of the current financial year, bilateral trade between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was recorded at $2,482.37 million, with Pakistan’s exports of $262.58 million and Saudi exports of $2.219 billion. He said Pakistan’s major to the KSA consisted of rice, meat of bovine animals, fruits and vegetables, and tents and camping goods, whereas imports were petroleum products, and polymers of propylene and ethylene.

The official said Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had agreed on a Free-Trade Agreement. Pakistan, he added, was also planning to organize a Single Country Exhibition and Lifestyle Show in Saudi Arabia.

He said that Pakistan would welcome and fully facilitate investments and partnerships from Saudi Arabia in IT, minerals, textiles, food security, engineering and energy sectors.


News Desk


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