(24 September 2018)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said according to the press briefing of information minister Fawad Chaudhry, Prime Minister Imran Khan has conducted successful visits of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates wherein KSA and UAE have intended to boost mutual relations and investment in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is all set to participate in multi billion CPEC project and willing to construct an oil city in Gwader which will definitely help Pakistan in curbing poverty and unemployment.
The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that in the two months of current fiscal year, foreign remittances to the Country stood at $ 4 billion which has increased by 13.5 percent compared to the same duration of last fiscal year while remittances from KSA has declined by 9 percent. Trade deficit has increased by 1 percent standing at $ 6 billion while current account deficit after declining by 10 percent is still at $ 3 billion. Foreign investment has increased by 24 percent while foreign exchange reserves are still under pressure due to increased trade deficit and growing imports than that of exports. Pakistan is in dire need of foreign investment due to pressure on foreign exchange reserves.
The former minister said that Saudi delegation is likely to visit Pakistan in October to sign different agreements. Inclusion of Saudi Arabia in CPEC will bring positive change on regional peace and regional trade will enhance to new heights. During the visit Prime Minister Imran Khan has discussed various matters of the mutual interest including defence, politics, economics, trade and cultural cooperation while important issues pertaining to Pakistani labors in KSA and trade visas. Both countries have agreed to enhance to bilateral cooperation and resolve the issue on early basis. $ 920 million received in term of remittances from Saudi Arabia while $ 775 million has been received from UAE. Pakistan’s exports including rice, meat, fruits, chemicals, textile and leather products to Saudi Arabia have declined from $ 500 million in 2014 to $ 300 million in 2017. For increasing exports to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan needs to take concrete measures.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistani imports from Saudi Arabia is comprised of crude oil up to 90 percent. Import bill stood at $ 130 billion in 2016, if KSA offers one year loan on bill payment, the pressure on balance on payment may be decreased. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia shares brotherly relations and has always stood firm with each other in time of need. The former COAS General Raheel Sharif is leading the 39 nations’ Islamic force and more than 1500 Pakistan Army officials are serving in KSA. 1.5 million of Pakistani workforce serving in Saudi Arabia are playing vital role in its economic development and providing foreign exchange reserves to Pakistan.