Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

Saudi minister sees Pakistan as ‘high priority’ economic opportunity

Islamabad, 6 May 2024, (GNP): The Pakistan-Saudi Arabia investment conference commenced on Monday with upbeat remarks from the leader of the Saudi delegation, emphasizing their view of Pakistan as a significant economic, investment, and business prospect.

A delegation of 50 high-ranking Saudi trade officials, led by Ibrahim Almubarak, the Deputy Investment Minister of Saudi Arabia, is currently in Islamabad to explore various trade and investment opportunities.

This conference is a result of discussions between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, aimed at enhancing bilateral trade and investment and ushering in a new era of growth and prosperity for both nations.

During his address, Ibrahim Almubarak highlighted that Saudi companies view Pakistan as an excellent investment destination and emphasized that the delegation’s visit will facilitate the expansion of trade relations between the two countries.

“Our visit to Pakistan is a continuation of the previous visit […] Saudi government and companies are giving preference to Pakistan for investment,” the dignitary said.

During the opening session of the conference, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb reiterated the government’s dedication to empowering the private sector to drive export-oriented growth in the country.

He emphasized the government’s efforts to attract foreign direct investment to bolster various sectors, highlighting that their role is to create a conducive policy environment.

Aurangzeb also stressed the importance of the private sector taking the forefront, with government officials supporting from behind, emphasizing a collaborative approach towards economic advancement.

Providing an overview of the economic landscape, the finance minister highlighted a positive trajectory. The agricultural GDP is flourishing, with a 5% growth driven by abundant crops like sugarcane, rice, and wheat.

Aurangzeb expressed confidence that the current account deficit for this fiscal year would remain below a billion dollars.

Additionally, he noted an increase in foreign exchange reserves, now standing between $9-10 billion, and highlighted the stability of the local currency over the past 10 months. Inflation has also decreased to approximately 17%.

Also Read: Finance minister advocates measures to boost tax-to-GDP ratio

Moreover, foreign investment is flowing into the Pakistan Stock Market, indicating growing confidence in the country’s economic prospects.

The finance minister stated that Pakistan aims to establish a larger and more enduring program with the IMF to ensure sustained macroeconomic stability and implement structural reforms. He mentioned that an IMF mission is anticipated to visit Pakistan within the next seven to 10 days to discuss the details of this new program.

Assuring an acceleration of the privatization process, Aurangzeb stressed the importance of maintaining consistent policies for economic stability. He also reiterated the finance ministry’s commitment to facilitating traders and investors.

In addition, Minister for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik highlighted the importance of collaboration between the private sectors of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to diversify the economy and add value. He emphasized that such collaboration would lead to prosperity for both nations.

Malik underlined the significance of cooperation in various sectors, including mining, tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure development, as crucial for unlocking the potential wealth and assets of both countries.