(February 15, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share brotherly ties which will boost will the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. Pakistan’s political and fiscal standing will get improved with visit of Saudi Crown Prince along with high power delegation of ministers, investors and traders.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that Saudi Arabia is a country of 32 million people with GDP of $ 640 billion while Pakistan comprised of 210 million people with GDP of only $ 290 billion. As per global competitive index, Saudi Arabia ranked 30 out of 137 countries while Pakistan ranked 115 however on global index of EoDB Saudi Arabia stands at 92nd position out of 190 while Pakistan is at 136th position. The hurdles in improved competitiveness in both and KSA include strict labour regulations, restricted access to credit and complicated tax system.
The Former Minister said that the brotherly relations between both Muslim countries should be used to strengthen trade ties between the countries for improving both economies. Reduction in visit visa fee for Pakistani from SAR 2000 to SAR 338 for single entry and SAR 675 for multiple entries is appreciative and should be reduced further in order to make it convenient for Pakistanis to get to the Kingdom and improve trade ties.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Saudi ambassador to Pakistan H.E. Nawaf Bin Said Al Malki and counsel general to Sindh H.E. Ubaidullah Al-Harbi have important role in getting both countries closer with respect to trade and economy. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have stood with one another at times of need and Pakistan still is playing vital role in making Saudi stronger and secured through its Armed forces. Former Army Chief of Pakistan General Raheel Sharif is heading the Islamic Force of 39 countries, which reflects the strong bonding between brotherly countries. 1500 Army officers / officials are currently serving in KSA to impart training to Saudi Army.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that over 1.5 million Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia are of high importance for Saudi economic growth and Pakistani foreign reserves. Last year Pakistanis in KSA remitted $ 920 million while bilateral trade has exceeded $ 3 billion in which Pakistan’s exports shared $ 300 million approx. Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is powerful personality of KSA and holds important positions of Vice President Ministers’ Council and Ministry of Defence in addition to be the Crown Prince of the Kingdom. He will accompanied by ministers, traders, investors and several industrialists. Both countries will discuss and sign MoUs for investment of around $ 15 billion in different sectors including energy, internal security, agriculture, minerals and other fields of interest.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan can play important role in facilitating KSA to trade with China, Russia and Central Asian Countries which Saudi Arabia cannot access directly. Saudi investment in Pakistan will improve regional peace, prosperity and trade. To improve bilateral trade between both countries, Pak – Saudi joint chamber of commerce should be used and recommendations of joint chamber should be given due consideration.