ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are expected to ink three major memorandum of understanding (MoUs) amounting to over $10 billion during the upcoming visit of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to the country.
“Three mega government-to-government MoUs will be signed and their total volume will be in double digit billion dollars,” Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Haroon Sharif told Dawn on Monday.
He said the three MOUs will be signed in the fields of oil refining, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mineral development.
Prince MBS is paying his first two-day visit to Pakistan, most likely, on Feb 16 on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Besides the MoUs, other business agreements are also likely to be signed between businessmen and industrialist of the two sides. “A group of top 40 Saudi businessmen is accompanying Prince Mohammed. The delegation will interact with the local business community. It is expected that some other private level agreements will also be inked during the visit,” the BoI chief said.
Talking about an oil refinery that Saudi Arabia will set up at Gwadar, Mr Sharif said the facility will be established at a cost of $8 billion. “Besides foreign investment, it will also provide job opportunities to the locals of the port city. If they [Saudis] also establish a petrochemical complex along with the refinery, it will require an additional investment of billions of dollars,” he added.
The BoI chief said the Saudi government was keen to install an oil refinery at Gwadar and further urged the preparation of a feasibility report in this regard.
Responding to a query regarding China’s reaction over Saudis investment in Gwadar, Mr Sharif said the former had no objection over the latter’s plan to establish an oil refinery. “In fact the area where Saudis will install the refinery will exactly be determined after feasibility study. However, it will be far away from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” he claimed.
Responding to a question as to why Saudi Arabia has suddenly come up with huge investment plans in Pakistan, the board’s chairman said, “The leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his commitment of ensuring transparency in Pakistan are the reasons behind much ambitious foreign investment in the country.”
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019