(February 18, 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 Monday said that Saudi crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan is a great success of Pakistan on diplomatic front and will further strengthen Pak – Saudi relations. Muhammad Bin Salman visit has lead to huge investment of $ 21 billion in different sectors, which will benefit both countries. A mega oil refinery will be established in Gwader which will reduce Pakistan’s import bill by approximately $ 1.5 billion and will enable KSA to grab growing Pakistani market in addition to export of surplus oil products to other countries in the region.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that the short, medium and long term Saudi investment in power, renewable energy, petrochemicals, infrastructure, mining, tourism and hospitality is comprised of $ 7 billion, $ 2 billion and $ 12 billion respectively. The huge investment will help in generating new jobs in the Country and new investors will be attracted to Pakistan, given to emerging market and huge investment opportunities backed by investment friendly policies of the PTI lead Govt.
The Former Minister said that both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia need to work for the betterment of business competitiveness and ease of doing business as KSA ranking on global competitive index of 137 countries is 30 while Pakistan ranked at 115, while on EoDB index Saudi stands at 92 followed by Pakistan at 136 out of 190 countries. Recent reduction in KSA visit visa fee for Pakistanis is appreciative but business visas should also be offered at cheaper rates in order to make it convenient for Pakistanis to meet Saudi traders and investors easily.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the idea of forming Pak – Saudi Coordination Council under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman will benefit the trade and economic ties between brotherly countries. Saudi ambassador to Pakistan H.E. Nawaf Bin Said Al Malki and counsel general to Sindh H.E. Ubaidullah Al-Harbi are playing 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.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Remittances from Saudi Arabia stood at $ 920 million while Pakistan’s exports to KSA were just $ 300 million in the last year which need to be improved for which preferential trade between both countries is vital. Pak Saudi coordination council and Pak Saudi joint chamber of commerce should take measures for increased exports to KSA. The Pak Saudi coordination council should closely monitor the investment status in Pakistan to ensure the practical implementations of investment proposals. With improved trade, investment and industrial terms between the countries will bring economic and fiscal prosperity, he added.