September 6, 2023
ISLAMABAD – Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has said Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have committed to “clear” and “tangible” investment projects in Pakistan.
Speaking in an interview with Dawn News English show Spotlight to be aired on Tuesday night, the prime minister said the members and stakeholders of the Special Investment Facilitation Council had worked on identifying various sectors ripe for investment.
“There is a clear tangible plan with a timeline [on] where to do interventions,” he said, as well as who the potential partners would be, adding that they were already identified and engaged in communication.
“We are in the process where probably in the next few months, we will be realising one, two or three projects in different areas on the ground,” he added.
Questioned on which countries had expressed serious interest in the venture, the premier said: “Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar … have shown a lot of interest. It’s not just that they have shown interest, they have assured and they have commitments that they would come for some tangible projects in Pakistan.”
The prime minister’s remarks come on the heels of his saying, while speaking to journalists at his official residence on Monday, that Saudi Arabia will invest up to $25 billion in Pakistan over the next two to five years in various sectors.
He had said Saudi Arabia’s investment would come in the mining, agriculture and information technology sectors, and was part of a push to increase foreign direct investment in Pakistan.
If confirmed, a series of investments worth $25bn would be the biggest ever by the kingdom in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, in a four-hour meeting with some 50 businessmen on Saturday, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir had said that during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, he had informed Mohammad Bin Salman that he had not arrived for a $1-2bn investment into Pakistan.
The Saudi prince had assured the army chief of investing $25bn in Pakistan under the SIFC aimed at attracting investment in the agriculture sector by offering land and ensuring exports.
Sources said the army chief had asked the Saudi prince to set aside $10bn to overcome the country’s foreign exchange issues which would be returned in rupees.
While referring to the meeting in the UAE, the army chief had also requested the UAE ruler to provide $10bn for improving foreign exchange reserves on which the UAE ruler had reportedly agreed. Another $25bn investment was also committed by the UAE ruler.
Gen Munir had also assured businessmen of bringing $25-30bn investment from Qatar and Kuwait in his next visit to improve the country’s economy. He had said that he would try to bring a total of $75-100bn investment from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.
Meanwhile, questioned about the caretaker government’s relief proposals to the International Monetary Fund and their rejection by the fund, the prime minister said both sides had explored “many venues” and there was an agreement that the economic class which did not contribute to the tax base should not be incentivised.
He said there was a need to look after the economic classes already contributing to the tax net, adding that a targeted power subsidy to disadvantaged socioeconomic classes consuming around 200 units of electricity was not discouraged or curtailed by the government or the Fund.