‘Saudi Arabia to further cement Pakistan ties’

ISLAMABAD: Saudia Arabia’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki told Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Tuesday that the kingdom desires to further strengthen its economic and commercial ties with Pakistan.
The envoy made the remarks in a meeting with the financial czar at the Finance Division in Is-lamabad. Dar appreciated the long-standing historical, religious and cultural ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He noted that the countries share “outstanding relations” on different fronts, in-cluding trade and economy, according to a statement issued by the Finance Division after the meeting.
The finance minister also informed the ambassador of the government’s policies that would be incorporated into the upcoming budget to bring eco-nomic prosperity.
Dar thanked the Saudi ambassador for his country’s valuable support to Pakistan economically and financially.
For his part, Ambassador Al-Malki reciprocated the sentiments about the long-term relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi assurance comes as Pakistan scrambles to revive a crucial International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme, without which the coun-try risks default.
The parleys between Pakistan and the IMF continue for the completion of the ninth review, which was due on November 3, 2022. The formal nego-tiations started on January 31 this year when an IMF delegation visited Pakistan for talks.
However, the two sides could not reach a consensus during the course of scheduled talks that ended on February 9. Since then, multiple online ses-sions have been held but differences persist on conditions set by the Fund for the Staff Level Agreement (SLA).
If the SLA is not signed ahead of the upcoming budget for 2023-24, scheduled to be unveiled on June 9, the ongoing programme will face a failure.
One of the IMF’s conditions for the SLA was for Pakistan to arrange external financing for the current fiscal year. In this regard, Saudi Arabia had confirmed to the international lender that it had pledged $2 billion.
Besides this, Saudi Arabia had provided the highest amount of assistance to Pakistan — $100 million and an oil facility of $782.28 million — from friendly countries, according to the Eco-nomic Affairs Division’s “Disbursement Report March 2022”. –Agencies