PM Shehbaz Sharif meets Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.—PID
PM Shehbaz Sharif meets Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.—PID

• In meeting with PM, Saudi minister shows interest in developing energy projects
• Shehbaz says govt pursuing deep-rooted structural reforms, ‘meaningful’ austerity
• Premier holds talks with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

ISLAMABAD: Riyadh told Islamabad on Monday that Saudi agriculture companies were looking at Pakistan with great interest and expressed the hope that both countries would benefit from joint ventures for improving the value chain of agriculture economy.

This transpired at Prime Min­ister Shehbaz Sharif’s meeting with Faisal Al-Ibrahim, Minister of Economy and Planning, and Eng Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen Al-Fadley, Minister of Environ­ment, Water and Agriculture of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the sidelines of a special World Economic Forum meeting.

At the conclusion of the WEF meeting, PM Shehbaz called on Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and both leaders reiterated to honour the commitment made during the former’s recent visit to kingdom. The two leaders also vowed to enhance bilateral cooperation.

During his meeting with the ministers of economy and agriculture, the PM highlighted the potential of Pakistani agriculture sector and underscored that Pakistan could become a bread basket for the kingdom and could play a critical role in ensuring food security not only for the two countries but for the entire region.

The Saudi minister for agriculture briefed the premier on the fruitful discussions that he and his delegation held in Islamabad on April 15-16.

He said the kingdom valued Pakistan’s strategic and competitive advantages in the field of agriculture and considers Pakistani agricultural sector as a significant area of cooperation.

According to the PM’s Office, the premier also held a meeting with Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, the Minister of Energy. The Saudi energy minister was accompanied by the CEO & president of Aramco and the chairman of ACWA Power.

The PM underscored various avenues available for energy cooperation between the two countries.The Saudi energy minister showed keen interest in developing energy projects identified by the PM.

PM Shehbaz also held a meeting with Saudi Minister of Commerce Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi. He said the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was playing an active role in promoting and facilitating foreign investment in the country. The Saudi minister told the prime minister that on the directives of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom was prioritising trade and investment in Pakistan.

WEF session

PM Shehbaz also told a WEF plenary his government was working for deep-rooted structural reforms and meaningful austerity.

He said natural resources are biggest assets of Pakistan and so are the country’s youth.

“The youth are our biggest asset and we have to provide them will modern tools and technology, including education in information technology and artificial intelligence and vocational training, so that they can become self-earners and establish small and medium size businesses and contribute to the nation-building efforts in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” he told the plenary meeting of World Economic Forum’s special session on the theme of “Rejuvenating Growth”.

He said it was for the first time in the country’s history that after getting credible input from agencies he had removed high-level officers who were not functioning well and had grey record.

“Our revenue sector is in tatters. What we receive annually in revenue, we lose four times more due to leakages in the system. Unless we plug loopholes we will not recover from our problems in revenue collection,” he explained.

He said there were also problems of inflation and debt trap which was a “death trap”.

The premier also recalled how the Sharif family had turned its fortunes around due to “hard work” and vowed to replicate this secret to rid the country of economic challenges.

PM Shehbaz said his government would promote agriculture through modern technology and by providing best seeds and fertilisers to farmers.

“A huge task is ahead of us and we have to go for higher exports and incentivise our exporters and utilise our mineral resources and fertile land,” he added.

Malaysian PM

PM Shehbaz and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim recalled the historical ties between Pakistan and Malaysia, especially in the fields of education, science & technology and trade, and undertook to further enhance the cooperation in the future, APP adds.

During a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart, Mr Sharif invited a trade and business delegation from Malaysia to Pakistan to discuss enhancing trade and investment relations.

The two sides agreed to have the next meeting of Joint Ministerial Commission in Islamabad soon.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2024

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Royal tantrum
20 Jul, 2024

Royal tantrum

DESPITE the government’s protestations, a constitutional crisis seems to have been averted — at least for now....
Bangladesh chaos
20 Jul, 2024

Bangladesh chaos

CHAOS has engulfed Dhaka, as well as other parts of Bangladesh, over the past few days. Anti-government protests had...
Fitch’s estimate
20 Jul, 2024

Fitch’s estimate

FITCH seems to be more optimistic about Pakistan accelerating its economic growth rate to 3.2pc during this fiscal...
Misplaced priorities
Updated 19 Jul, 2024

Misplaced priorities

The government must call its APC at the earliest and invite all stakeholders to take part; this matter cannot be delayed further.
Oman terror attack
19 Jul, 2024

Oman terror attack

THE normally peaceful sultanate of Oman was shaken by sectarian terrorism on Monday when militants belonging to the...
Urban flooding
19 Jul, 2024

Urban flooding

THE provincial authorities have been taking precautionary measures, or so we have been told, to cope with emergency...