Saudi Arabia mulls increasing investments, deposits to Pakistan

The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) on Monday ordered the Saudi Development Fund to study increasing Saudi investments and deposits in Pakistan to $15 billion.

According to the KSA’s official news agency, the crown prince and premier MBS issued instructions to consider increasing the number of deposits in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to $5 billion.

The kingdom also plans to invest $10 billion in the country.

The Saudi news agency further said that the announcement comes after talks between Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and MBS.

Last year, Saudi Arabia had announced an investment of $1bn in Pakistan.

It is pertinent to note that last week, in what appears to be an alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had expressed hope to receive a $3 billion second bailout from Saudi Arabia within days, vowing to raise money through the sale of assets to beef up the critically-low foreign exchange reserves.

At a joint press conference with the government’s economic team, Dar showed his commitment to the IMF programme but at the same time stressed that he would not take any steps that would put a burden on the people.

At the presser, he did not say categorically that the National Security Committee (NSC) clearly backed the IMF programme plan.

“God willing, in matters of days, Saudi Arabia will beef up reserves,” said Dar, while responding to a question whether there was any concrete commitment from any foreign nation to avoid the crisis.

Later on, he told The Express Tribune that Pakistan would receive $3 billion from the kingdom.

Aid pledged to Pakistan

Yesterday, Pakistan secured over $10 billion in pledges from international financial institutions, donor agencies and development partners for the rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction of flood-affected areas, during an International Conference on Climate Resilience.

A high-level delegation from Pakistan kicked off the International Conference on ‘Climate Resilient Pakistan’ in Geneva today, co-chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif along with UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres.

The daylong event gathered high-level representatives from dozens of countries, including several heads of state and government.

While not strictly a pledging conference, the UN and Pakistani representatives have said that it aimed to mobilise support as the country rebuilds after the floods that left more than 1,700 people dead and affected over 30 million others.

At the inaugural ceremony PM Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan needs $8 billion from its international partners over the next three years to rebuild the country that is reeling from last year’s devastating floods.

The major pledges made at the conference, included $4.2 billion from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), $2 billion from the World Bank, $1.5 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), $1 billion from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and $1 billion from Saudi Arabia.

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