Wednesday May 22, 2024

Pakistan eyes multi-billion dollar investment after Saudi team visit

The premier also reiterated his commitment to working day and night for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity

By Ag App & Muhammad Anis & News Desk
April 18, 2024
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting of the Federal Cabinet on April 17, 2024. — APP
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting of the Federal Cabinet on April 17, 2024. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, chairing a federal cabinet meeting here on Wednesday, hinted at Saudi Arabia investing billions of dollars in Pakistan.

In the wake of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s recent successful visit, the premier told the cabinet members billions of dollars’ worth of investment was expected from the kingdom. Commending the efforts of the federal cabinet and relevant authorities for the successful visit, he said the Saudi delegation was impressed by the preparations of Pakistani ministers and officials.

The prime minister thanked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his special interest in Pakistan, which led to a successful visit by the Saudi delegation. “We must ensure completion of this investment in Pakistan with the same spirit and dedication,” he added and warned that no obstacles or hindrances in that regard would be tolerated. “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have entered into a new phase of economic relations [with the current visit of delegation],” he added.

The premier also reiterated his commitment to working day and night for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity, as promised to the people. “If we continue to work hard, we will soon achieve Pakistan’s development, prosperity and economic stability.”

Later, briefing the media on cabinet decisions, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar said the federal cabinet held discussion on the recent visit of Saudi delegation to Pakistan and the expression of interest shown by the Saudi side for investment in different sectors.

The information minister, while describing the visit as highly productive, said matters were expeditiously moving forward. He said another high-level Saudi delegation would visit Pakistan in the coming months to conclude agreements. He said a Saudi delegation from the private sector would also visit Pakistan very soon, and their investments and partnerships with Pakistani private sector would have a positive impact on national economy.

The minister said delegation-level visits from other friendly countries were also expected in the coming days. He said the world financial institutions and journals as well as independent experts were recognising the steps taken by the government for economic improvement. He said the benefit of improvement would reach the common man.

The information minister said the cabinet decided to write a letter to the four provinces to enhance their wheat procurement targets and set a good price for the commodity.

He said the Ministry of National Food Security would write to the provinces, saying the decision would bring prosperity to farmers. He pointed out the country had abundant stocks of wheat and a bumper wheat crop was expected this year, and situation would have a positive impact on the rural economy.

The cabinet directed the Ministry of National Food Security to ask the provinces to achieve targets for procurement of wheat from farmers. “We will take all possible measures to repay hard work of farmers,” he promised.

The federal cabinet approved the establishment of Institute of Modern Sciences in Wah Cantonment area. The PM ordered to form a committee under Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training to further improve the procedure for establishing new universities and higher education institutions.

The cabinet accorded approval to Federal Public Private Policy of Pakistan 2023-2028. The PM said economic growth could be accelerated through public-private partnership and directed all ministries to submit their proposals under the Public Private Partnership.

The federal cabinet also approved signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Qatar’s Ministry of Labour and Pakistan’s Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development for labour relations, inspections, professional safety and health. The cabinet was told that currently 300,000 Pakistanis are working in Qatar.

The cabinet, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allowed former ambassador Manzoor Ahmad Chaudhry to receive the Commandeur de I’Ordre National Award from the Government of Cote D’Ivoire in recognition of his services.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of Law and Justice, the cabinet meeting gave its approval for conversion of Accountability Court-VIII Karachi to Special Court (Customs, Taxation and Anti-Smuggling-II), Accountability Court-III Hyderabad to Banking Court Mirpur Khas, Accountability Court-III Sukkur to Banking Court, Ghotki and Accountability Court-IV Sukkur to Banking Court Shaheed Benazirabad.

The cabinet meeting also gave its approval for authorising the Special Court II (Anti-Terrorism) to hear cases reported under the Official Secrets Act, 1923. The Special Court II was given the authority in view of proceeding of the Special Court-I judge on leave.

The minister said the opposition’s first public meeting turned out to be a big failure as they have no issue on which they could speak. Without naming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), he said there were differences between leaders and they give contradictory statements outside the prison. “Their leaders are facing corruption cases and are in jail on corruption charges, and I will advise them to focus on those cases,” he said.

He said the economy was on a positive trajectory and the process would be taken forward for progress and development of the country and the opposition should also support the government in its endeavours.

To a question, he said that no discussion was held on the Faizabad Commission report in cabinet meeting, saying the law minister could give a better response on the issue.

Tarar, to a question regarding delay in completion of cases of May 9 accused, said the law was taking its course as there was process of trial and recording evidence. “We hope that all cases will come to a logical end as courts are holding trial of the accused,” he added.

With regard to criticism of PMLN policies by Mian Javed Latif and Rana Sanaullah, the information minister said there was freedom of expression in the party. However, he said that party policies should be discussed before camera and criticism of policies should be carried out off-camera. At the same time, he said he did not take controversial statements of Mian Javed Latif seriously.

Meanwhile, Saudi Assistant Defence Minister Major General Engineer Talal bin Abdullah arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday to give final shape to mutual security agreements. He was warmly received by the defence authorities.

The Saudi minister would hold a meeting with Army Chief General Asim Munir. A variety of defence related issues would be discussed, including military training between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It would also be discussed to broaden mutual defence relations even further.