1.2bn riyal deal with Saudi Development Fund for water, power projects approved by cabinet: sources

Published February 14, 2019
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a media briefing following the cabinet meeting. —DawnNewsTV
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a media briefing following the cabinet meeting. —DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a cabinet meeting on Thursday during which approval was granted for the signing of multiple agreements in the water and power sectors with the visiting Saudi delegation over the weekend, cabinet sources told DawnNewsTV.

The sources said that the summary for a 1.207 billion-riyal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Fund for Development regarding funds for five power projects was placed before the cabinet for approval in today's meeting.

The sources said that projects which will receive funds under the agreement include:

  • Diamer-Bhasha Dam (377.5 million riyals)
  • Mohmand Dam (300m riyals)
  • Shounter hydropower project (240m riyals)
  • Jamshoro power project (153.7m riyals)
  • Jagran hydropower project (131.2m riyals)

Read more: Saudi prince likely to sign $10bn MoUs during upcoming visit

According to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who held a media briefing following the cabinet meeting, an MoU for the setting up of an oil refinery in Gwadar worth $8bn will also be signed.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will be visiting Islamabad on Feb 16 and 17 along with a hefty delegation of royals, ministers and businessmen at the prime minister's invitation.

During his stay, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will sign a number of agreements and 8 MoUs related to diverse sectors, including investment, finance, power, renewable energy, internal security, media, culture and sports, according to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

Yesterday, the Saudi cabinet granted its minister of energy, industry and mineral resources and or his deputy authority to wrap up talks and sign MoUs with Pakistani officials for the development of renewable energy projects, studies into investment opportunities in the petrochemical and recycling, and mineral resources sectors.

Other points discussed

According to the information minister, 26 cabinet meetings have taken place over the past six months in which 440 decisions were made. Of these, 243 decisions have been wholly implemented and 43 decisions are yet to take effect.

Chaudhry said it was decided in today's meeting that the industrial zones which do not have gas and power supply will be provided the same immediately.

"There is a lot of investment taking place in Pakistan and more foreign investors will be coming in. When they do, we must be ready," he said.

The information minister also revealed the appointment of Zafar Usmani, the new chairman for the board of directors of Pakistan State Oil.

Furthermore, Adnan Ghani, an overseas Pakistani and international banker, was appointed as the chairman of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, Chaudhry said.

Naseer Khan Kashani was appointed as the chairman of Gwadar Port Authority, he added.

Chaudhry said that a plan to revamp State Life Insurance was also discussed based on a report submitted by the organisation's chairman and that the institution was declared part of "essential services so that union activities can be prevented and the desired reforms can be brought in".

The cabinet was also given a briefing regarding the Supreme Court's decision to give the control of Lahore's Shaikh Zayed Hospital and other hospitals such as Karachi's Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) to the federal government, he said.

A draft proposal was also granted approval by the cabinet for the merger of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra).

Besides this, the formation of a reform board for Pakistan Insititute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) was also accorded approval and a cabinet committee was formed to address the water payment issue with respect to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The National Anti-Narcotics Policy, 2018 which was presented to the cabinet today was also discussed, the information minister said.

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