Saudi Arabia Provides Financial Support to Address Debt Crisis

PM Imran Khan

Khan was chairing a follow-up meeting regarding facilitating overseas Pakistanis, particularly to ease and incentivise home remittances through legal channels, before he departed for Saudi Arabia to attend an investment conference.

While tracing the history of foreign debts, Khan said the country's total foreign debt before 1970 stood at Rs 30 billion.

Saudi Arabia will provide $3 billion cash deposits to State Bank of Pakistan.

The deal is expected to put Pakistan in a better position to negotiate a loan from the IMF, Tariq Yousuf Khan, an economics professor in the southern port city of Karachi, told AP.

The country also needs two oil refineries to meet demand, and they are talking to Saudi investors about the projects, Khan said, adding Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is organizing a delegation of Saudi businessmen to invest in Pakistan.

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Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Finance Asad Umar and other senior officials were also present during the meeting. Interestingly, the forum was boycotted by leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

He said Pakistan had been mulling over decision to get a loan from the International Monetary Fund, but any major assistance from the lender would have put additional burden on the nation.

The gains followed a string of losses on the bourse after mixed signals from Prime Minister Khan's government on plans to address the country's financial woes.

In his recent telephonic conversation with Mahathir, Khan had expressed his desire to learn from Malaysia's experiences.

Prime Minister Imran Khan says the PTI government has inherited a huge burden of current account and fiscal deficits and we are working on different fronts to get out of this financial crunch.

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To a question, Imran Khan said his government is focusing on creating jobs for our youth who form the one hundred million population of our country to harness their talent.

Prime Minister Khan said he would try once again following the conclusion of the general elections in India.

Cash-strapped Pakistan has already announced plans to cut a Dollars 8.2 billion railway project between the Karachi and Peshawar the biggest under the CPEC by about USD 2 billion to reduce the debt burden.

He said CPEC is a flagship project under Belt and Road initiative of President Xi Jinping and it would help change the entire landscape in the region through greater connectivity and development projects.

The Trump administration has been critical of China's Belt and Road Initiative, saying that it has saddled some developing countries with debts they can not afford to repay.

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