Saudi investment augurs well

MINISTERS for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar announced at a news conference on Thursday that Saudi Arabia would be investing billions of dollars in different sectors of Pakistan’s economy. Briefing media-persons after Cabinet meeting, they also stated that during visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Riyadh, the prospects of Saudi investment in Pakistan were discussed and the Kingdom expressed keen interest in the subject.
One hopes the announcement does not prove to be a mere claim and the proposals being discussed by two sides would be taken to fruition through aggressive follow up by relevant ministries and divisions. Cabinet approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KSA on establishment of a state-of-the-art oil refinery at Gwadar and its expected signing during forthcoming visit of Saudi Energy Minister’s visit to Pakistan would go a long way in realising the proposal that is there for decades to have an oil refinery in Balochistan. Massive investment of $8 billion on the proposed refinery would not only play a crucial role in the overall economic development of the country but also help realise the objective of making Gwadar hub of economic and commercial activities at a fast pace. We have been talking with both Russian Federation and China on laying of North-South and South-North pipelines and an offer made to Saudi to invest in these projects is also a step in the right direction as the projects are vitally important and the country has no resources to finance them on its own.
More important than all, the offer to Saudi Arabia to invest in oil and gas exploration has the potential to make a real difference as there are blocks with bright prospects for oil and gas discoveries and such a development could prove win-win situation for both countries. However, there is need to tread the path with caution and steadfastness as hasty steps, sometimes, prove counter-productive. We learnt from government leaders that Saudi Arabia has been offered to become third partner in the CPEC yet within days the claim was reversed understandably under pressure from a particular lobby. Saudi Arabia has proven time and again that it is friend of Pakistan and we must not allow any extraneous consideration to spoil the cooperative and friendly relationship.

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