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Saudi Arabia to invest $25 billion in five years, says Pakistan PM

Interim premier also says SIFC is a strategy for economic revival of the country

September 5, 2023 1:47 pm

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar talking to foreign media at his office in Islamabad on September 4, 2023. — PID
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar talking to foreign media at his office in Islamabad on September 4, 2023. — PID

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia and the Middle East would invest in projects worth $25 billion each in the next two to five years, announced Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday.

The premier, while talking to foreign journalists at his office, said that his government without “redesigning the government structure” is mostly focused on “rearranging the fiscal and monetary policies to build an edifice for economic revival”.

While labelling the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) a strategy for economic revival, he said the body would focus on agriculture, mines and minerals, defence production and information technology.

Responding to a question, PM Kakar said his interim government had an “excellent working environment” with the army and both were working together on economic revival.

On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Caretaker PM Kakar said regardless of any political association, the people of Balochistan welcomed the projects taken under the initiative. He reiterated the government’s resolve to go to any extent to protect the Chinese workers taking part in the CPEC projects.

Referring to the massive reserves worth $6 trillion of copper and gold in Balochistan, the prime minister said the Reko Diq project was about to start soon. He called for all the stakeholders to formulate a model to explore the mineral-rich area to make the world see Pakistan through a different prism.

Govt exploring out-of-box solutions on electricity

In the interaction, the premier also assured that his government was exploring realistic options to come up with out-of-box solutions to provide relief to electricity consumers.

He said the government would make informed decisions to satisfy the masses on the issue of electricity bills without deviating from Pakistan’s commitments with the international financial institutions.

Mentioning the issues of circular debt, power theft, and taxes, the caretaker prime minister said the government would introduce short-term solutions to the issue without undermining the agitating people.

He said the reforms needed in taxation and power sectors and that the government would leave behind a basis for mid-level reforms. Kakar said the government was pursuing a policy of doing the doable and providing a strategic direction to the economic planning.

On elections, PM Kakar said that the interim government was mandated to facilitate holding general elections as early as possible while observing the constitutional obligations.

He said the Constitution called for carrying out the delimitation following the population census.

To a question, he said all the registered political parties would be provided a level playing field to contest the general elections without any discrimination. However, he said in certain instances, political behaviour turned into vandalism and the country’s law was already in vogue to deal with such conduct.

About the May 9 riots, he said the attack on the military installations was an attempt to create societal disorder. That existential threat needed a lawful response and he supported the laws to curb such behavior.

Rise in terror attacks

Talking about the terror attacks by the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban, PM Kakar drew attention to the leftover military equipment by the US and allied forces back in Afghanistan which he viewed were becoming a threat to peace thus necessitating a coordinated approach to deal with the challenge.

“Foreign forces left Afghanistan after losing interest but we are here to defend our home, children, mosques and places of worship,” he added.

He further said the Pak-Afghan ties were deeply rooted in cultural and faith-based linkages as well as social integration. Pakistan showed magnanimity to the Afghan refugees and that the government was coming up with a policy to address the challenge of illegal immigrants, he added.

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