PM Shehbaz secures more investment assurances from Riyadh

Published April 29, 2024
RIYADH: Saudi Minister for Finance Mohammad Al Jadaan and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif share a light moment during their meeting, on Sunday.—PPI
RIYADH: Saudi Minister for Finance Mohammad Al Jadaan and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif share a light moment during their meeting, on Sunday.—PPI

• Discusses sustained growth prospects with IMF chief; decision on final SBA tranche due today
• Saudi minister dubs Shehbaz ‘man of action’; says delegation of investors to visit Pakistan soon

ISLAMABAD: Over a hectic working weekend, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday secured assurances on investment from Saudi Arabia and won plaudits from his hosts, who dubbed him ‘a man of action’.

The premier, who was in Riyadh to attend a special meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), also met Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Minister for Investment Khalid Al-Falih, Minister for Finance Mohammad Al Jadaan and Minister for Industry Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhourayef in separate engagements, on Sunday.

At a gala dinner hosted by the Saudi crown prince, the PM thanked MBS for sending a high-powered delegation to Pakistan led by Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah.

To continue discussions, the prime minister said that he had brought a high-powered delegation to Riyadh, including key ministers responsible for investment, so that follow-up meetings could take place between the relevant officials.

Earlier, Saudi Minister for Investment Khalid Al-Falih praised the PM as being ‘a man of action’, saying: “We are all aware of your performance and speed of work… Your mission is our mission.”

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mohammad Al Jadaan said that a delegation of Saudi investors would soon visit Pakistan.

Pakistan was a priority for their investment and Saudi Arabia would continue to fully cooperate in the fields of agriculture, information technology and energy, he said.

The prime minister also met the Saudi minister for industry, who expressed keen interest in collaborating with Pakistan in the fields of agriculture, mining, information technology and other areas.

The minister said he was in contact with the private Saudi companies regarding investment in Pakistan and the representatives of these companies would soon visit Pakistan.

Meeting with IMF chief

 Managing director of IMF calls on PM Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of a special meeting of the WEF on 28 April. — Photo courtesy PID
Managing director of IMF calls on PM Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of a special meeting of the WEF on 28 April. — Photo courtesy PID

PM Shehbaz also met International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the WEF meeting, where he reiterated his government’s commitment to put Pakistan’s economy back on track.

A PM Office press release said the premier told Ms Georgieva he had directed his financial team, led by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb to carry out structural reforms, ensure strict fiscal discipline and pursue prudent policies that would ensure macro-economic stability and sustained economic growth.

He thanked her for supporting Pakistan in securing the $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) last year. The IMF Executive Board is expected to meet today (Monday) to decide the fate of the SBA’s final tranche of $1.1 billion.

In a tweet, the IMF chief said she had a very productive meeting with PM Shehbaz. “We discussed policy reforms and strong decisions to address [Pakis­tan’s] challenges and create stronger sustained and more inclusive growth for the benefit all Pakistanis,” she wrote on X.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the IMF chief also shared her institution’s perspective on the ongoing programme with Pakistan, including the review process.

Other engagements

PM Shehbaz also met with Sheikh Meshal Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait to discuss bilateral ties.

During their meeting, the prime minister expressed his desire to work closely with the Kuwaiti leader to transform bilateral ties into a mutually beneficial economic partnership that would serve the best interests of the peoples of both countries.

Pakistan and Kuwait had signed a number of MoUs and agreements to deepen cooperation in trade and investment in November 2023. The prime minister assured the Kuwaiti leadership that these MoUs and agreements would be implemented in an efficient and timely manner.

Separately, during a session on ‘Redefining Global Health Agenda’, PM Shehbaz said that global inequality was the main problem facing the health sector, and called for bridging the widening gap between the global south and the global north.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2024

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