Pakistan hopeful of positive response from Qatar, Saudi Arabia soon, says finance minister

“Saudi Arabia, hopefully, will reload [deposit money in Pakistan’s central bank] before December,” says Miftah Ismail

Web Desk
Monday, June 06, 2022
Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail — Reuters

Pakistan is seeking financial assistance from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to stabilise the economy and is hopeful for a positive result, revealed Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.

Speaking on Geo News programme Jirga, the finance minister announced that Pakistan had reached out to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE to help the cash-strapped country.

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“Saudi Arabia, hopefully, will reload [deposit money in Pakistan’s central bank] before December,” the minister told Jirga’s host, “Also, the Kingdom may extend Pakistan’s limit to buy oil on credit.”

The government has also sought support from Qatar, the minister said. “We are talking to Qatar to let us buy Liquefied natural gas (LNG) on loan. We are also talking to the UAE [for financial assistance],” he added.

Separately, Ismail explained that $2.4 billion loan will be received from China in two or three days, as all the formalities related to the loan have been completed after a recent visit by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Pakistan is also finalising a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), prior to which the government hiked up the price of petrol and removed subsidies put in place by the previous government, as demanded by the international lending body.

“If we did not make these decisions [with the IMF] it would have been difficult for Pakistan,” Ismail said on the show, “I am being honest here. We had to save Pakistan from defaulting.” He added that a further increase in petrol prices cannot be ruled out as it was a “moving target”, meaning it depended on the price of petrol in the international market.