‘Riyadh finalizing extension of $3bn deposit to Pakistan’


-Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister terms Pakistan as an important ally
-Reiterates Riyadh’s firm support to Islamabad
-Pakistan is in dire need of external finances, hurt by high inflation
-Uncertainty over revival of IMF programme has compounded volatility in economy, markets

DAVOS: Saudi Arabia is finalising the extension of the kingdom’s $3 billion deposit to Pakistan, Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan told reporters.
“We are currently finalising extending the $3 billion deposit to Pakistan,” he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Last year, Saudi Arabia deposited $3 billion in State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to support the foreign exchange reserves. Jadaan did not offer further details, but on May 1 the two countries said in a joint statement that they would discuss the possibility of supporting the deposit by extending its term “or through other options.”
Pakistan is in dire need of external finances, hurt by high inflation, reserves declining to as low as less than two months’ of imports, and a fast-weakening currency.
Jadaan said Pakistan was an important ally and the kingdom would stand behind the South Asian nation.
Uncertainty over the revival of an International Monetary Fund programme has compounded volatility in the economy and markets amid a political crisis since a new government took over last month from ousted prime minister Imran Khan.
The IMF is likely to conclude ongoing talks over a 7th review in Doha.
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday said that the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are being held in Doha, Qatar due to the PTI’s Azadi March as they refused to come to Islamabad citing the security situation. Miftah Ismail also categorically rejected former finance minister Shaukat Tarin’s claim that the Shahbaz Sharif-led coalition government had sought his expertise to improve the economy but he turned down the request.
Last month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif later in April had met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Jeddah.
During the meeting, both the leaders had discussed bilateral ties, including matters related to expanding business and trade.
Upon arrival at the Al-Salam Palace, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was cordially welcomed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, while the guard of honour was also presented to the visiting dignitary. –Agencies