KARACHI: A high-level Saudi delegation arrived in Pakistan on Sunday following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent maiden visit to the Kingdom.
The two countries will negotiate investment agreements in the oil, gas and power sectors, said Pakistani Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.
The Saudi delegation’s five-day visit will include meetings with key officials and the signing of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in projects of mutual interest.
“We’re meeting with the delegation on Monday morning,” Dawood told Arab News. “The meeting will be attended by myself, Finance Minister Asad Umar and Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.”
Saudi Arabia has offered to set up a multibillion-dollar oil refinery in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, and has expressed interest in acquiring stakes in liquefied natural gas power plants in Punjab.
“The Saudis will discuss various options in the power sector during the meeting with us,” Dawood said.
Pakistan has invited Saudi Arabia to become a partner in multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
Last week, Umar said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will determine the level and areas of investment in meetings scheduled to take place in Islamabad in the first week of October.
“We have discussed trade-related issues, foreign direct investment (FDI), visa fees, and issues faced by our laborers,” he told Arab News.
Earlier this week, Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the agreements with the Kingdom will be transparent.
“The Kingdom has expressed interest in investing with us in CPEC projects and infrastructure development, and is bringing major investments here,” he added.
“The first step has been taken — the signing of three agreements — and this is a very positive step.”
The two countries on Thursday signed three MoUs for grant projects in the health and education sectors of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Economists have expressed hope that the expected Saudi investments will help Pakistan’s economy.
Fawad Khan, senior analyst at BMA Capital, expressed hope that the Saudis will bring in new technology in the refinery sector.
“Refining capacity in Pakistan is currently around 19 million tons, and almost 90 percent is done through old technology,” he said. “Saudi investment is expected to generate employment opportunities in Pakistan.”