Saudi Arabia announces USD 4.2 bn bailout for cash-strapped Pakistan

Saudi Arabia has agreed to revive its financial support to Pakistan, including about USD 3 billion in safe deposits and USD 1.2bn to USD 1.5bn worth of oil supplies on deferred payments, officials said

Oct 27, 2021
Image
Representational Photo

Saudi Arabia has agreed to revive its financial support to Pakistan, including about USD 3 billion in safe deposits and USD 1.2bn to USD 1.5bn worth of oil supplies on deferred payments, officials said. The two countries inked the agreement during Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the kingdom this week, a senior government official told Dawn.

The development was later confirmed in a midnight tweet by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. “Saudi Arabia announcement supports Pakistan with 3 billion US dollars as deposit in Pakistan central bank and also financing refined petroleum product with 1.2 billion US dollars during the year,” he wrote.

In addition, the Saudi government would provide crude oil to Islamabad on deferred payments worth up to USD 1.5 bn per annum.

Saudi Arabia had also provided USD 3 bn in cash deposits and promised a USD 3bn oil facility to Pakistan to help the latter shore up its foreign exchange reserves in 2018. However, as the bilateral relations deteriorated later Islamabad had to return $2bn of the $3bn deposits.

In June this year, Saudi Arabia had announced the availability of USD 1.5bn oil facility per annum. Three months later then finance minister Shaukat Tarin had claimed that an agreement for another Saudi oil facility on deferred payments had been reached and would be formally announced within two to three days. The announcement got delayed as Islamabad engaged with the US authorities and the IMF.

“They [Saudi Arabia] are not only considering another oil facility on deferred payments but an agreement has almost been reached that would hopefully be made public in two or three days,” Tarin stated on September 30 on the floor of the National Assembly in response to a question.

Officials said the IMF had asked Islamabad to ensure the financial flows that it had promised at the time of finalising the 39-month Extended Fund Facility. Support from the kingdom and China was a key pillar of the three-year financing plan.

Tarin had confirmed to the National Assembly that with the premier’s approval, during the financial year 2013-14, an amount of $1.5bn, equivalent to Rs157.19bn, was received as a grant from Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and transferred to Pakistan Development Fund Ltd account in the State Bank of Pakistan.

(SAM)